Ball State Cardinals Strut into Town
Tribute to BSU's Dante Love - Get well soon!
The Ball State University Marching Band is strutting. The players are strutting. The broadcast team is strutting. Even the vendors at Scheumann Stadium are strutting.
And why not?
The BSU Cardinals sport a perfect 5-0, 2-0 MAC record and have been both consistent and impressive in every game, on average, doubling up opponents 41.1 to 20.2 points.
With their last performance against Kent State, BSU scored on seven of eight drives. Scoring on ever possession is now expected by Cardinals fans.
And the Cardinals defense is doing its part. With the devastating injury to super star Donte Love in the second quarter against Indiana, it could have been a major distraction for the team. All the Cardinals defense did was shut out Indiana the second half.
It has to be an offensive blow to Ball State to lose WR Donte Love (4 TDs on 28 catches for an average of 115 yards/game), arguably on his way to being MAC O player of the year. This team, however, has ample weapons to function on all cylinders.
QB Nate Davis triggers the Cardinals attack. His eye popping pass completion percentage of 70.9 includes 11 TD tosses with only 3 INTs. Leading the tall and talented receiving corps is true freshman WR Briggs Orsbon with 19 receptions, 241 yards, 2 TDs. Close behind is All-MAC TE Darius Hill with 17 grabs, 252 yards, 3 TDs. TE Madaris Grant has 12 catches for 109 yards. HB MiQuale Lewis also has a dozen receptions for 100 yards. WRs Myles Trempe and Daniel Ifft have 8 and 6 receptions for 151 and 90 yards respectfully.
Handling the running chores is HB MiQuale Lewis well on his way to a 1500 yard season. He has 10 TDs and 645 yards on 112 carries (5.8 ypc). True freshman Cory Skyes has 2 TDs, 116 yards on 30 carries. QB Davis is averaging 4.6 yard per rush on 15 runs.
Behind All-MAC RT Robert Brewster, the OL features eight returning starters. They have allowed five sacks, all coming in the last three games. This may be the best offensive line in the MAC.
The Cardinals defense closes fast and tackles in bunches led by line backers, cornerbacks and safeties. Red shirt freshman SS Sean Baker leads the team with 37 tackles, 4 INTs and 3 pass break ups. LB Bryant Haines is close behind with 34 tackles, 3 TFL and one sack. CB B. J. Hill has 31 tackles and, despite standing 5'7", has 2 INTs. CB Trey Buice leads the team with 4 pass break ups. LB David Jones has 31 tackles, 3 TFL. DE Brandon Crawford has 16 tackles, 5 TFL and 2 sacks. SLB Kenny Meeks has 3 TFL and 3 QB sacks.
No real weakness here.
Handling the punting is Chris Miller who is averaging a healthy 42.2 ypp. Six of his eleven punts have landed inside the 20 yard line. One of his punts was blocked.
Not to be outdone, BSU special teams blocked an opponent's PAT.
Ian McGarvey is 6 for 7 on field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards. He's perfect on PATs going 27 for 27.
Kickoffs are on the capable foot of Jake Hogue. Four of his 37 kickoffs have been touchbacks. As a reminder, that's a kickoff that reaches the opponents end zone and is not returned out of the end zone.
Kickoff return duties fall to freshman Torieal Gibson, averaging a bit less than 30 yards per return. He had a 66-yard return against Kent State.
B.J. Hill fields punts and is averaging more than 23 yards per return including a long of 72 yards.
What to Look for:
BSU to become all but bowl eligible
At least one INT by the Cardinals
Long kick off and punt return by BSU (sad this has become so predictable)
Ball State to score in every quarter
MiQuale to have another 100 yard game running
A long night for the Rockets if they give up 21 points or more in the first half
Determination of DuJuane Collins
After listening to most of and watching a bit of the first half against FIU and then reading about the second half, I'm not very optimistic about Saturday's Homecoming Game. Ball State is looking for its best start in two decades. Recent history doesn't hurt their changes. I am surprised that the Cardinals are currently only 6 to 8 point favorites. BTW, FIU is now a 6.5 favorite over North Texas.
Maybe, just maybe, the odds makers feel the frustration in the Rockets, the broadcast team, the fans and, yes, the Glass Bowl vendors.
Let's hope the "frust" can overcome the strut.
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