For the first time since the graduation of Keith Wenning after the 2013 season, Ball State will return a firmly entrenched starter at QB. Riley Neal, a 6-6 217 Sophomore, will once again lead the Cardinals Offense, albeit a new one under the helm of First Year Head Coach Mike Neu.
A season ago, Neal, from nearby Yorktown, IN, started the last 10 games and was productive – throwing for 2,276 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 58 percent of his passes. Neal also ran for almost 400 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Neal will take over the new, fast-paced Ball State offense under Neu. The former New Orleans Saints Assistant and Arena Football League Head Coach promises to bring a breakneck pace to the offense which should work directly with the skill set of the strong armed Neal. The long and athletic Neal has the ability to get the ball out quickly and accurately and also connect on the deep ball. He is also able to keep defenses honest with his ability to tuck and run if things break down or pull and pick up several yards in the read option.
Aside from Neal though, the Cardinals welcome back a former starter, and experienced veteran in Jack Milas. The smaller (6-1) Milas started the first two games last season (after unseating starter Ozzie Mann) after starting 6 as a redshirt freshman the year before. In his limited time as a starter last season, Milas threw for 343 yards and a touchdown.
Milas is not as athletic as Neal, but is sneaky quick. He may be a touch more accurate than Neal, but hasn't shown the ability to throw the deep ball as well as Neal at this point.