You ready for some #MACtion? Ball State and Northern Illinois go at it for the MAC West title and maybe even a trip to a BCS bowl game. Watch as Keith Wenning and Jordan Lynch set off a firework show in DeKalb.
On paper, NIU holds a slight edge over BSU, but other than Iowa, NIU has faced only one other team that has any shot at a bowl berth. That one team would be the 3-6 Central Michigan Chippewas. The combined record of NIU's FBS opponents is 19-58 (and if you take Iowa out, that becomes a even worse 13-54), and in total that makes for a .2468 winning percentage.
Ball State on the other hand has faced two teams that are bowl bound (North Texas and Toledo) and one team that could be bowling (Central Michigan). The combined record of BSU's FBS opponents is 29-59 and carries a winning percentage that is over eight points higher that of NIU's.
Lets take a look at Keith Wenning's stats vs. teams that could still make a bowl game or already have.
at UNT: 27/46 333 yards passing 2 TDs 2 INTs
vs. Toledo: 27/38 335 yards passing 0 TDs 1 INTs
vs. CMU: 20/29 299 yards passing 4 TDs 0 INTs (Lynch had 155 passing and 316 rushing at CMU)
Ball State has also gained a defense that can win games without the help of a shootout. In wins this season BSU has not allowed more than 28 points in a game. The team that scored 28 on BSU was Illinois State from the FCS in the first game of the season. In the loss to North Texas, BSU gave up 34 points in Denton. In total the Ball State "D" has given up an average of just 23.6 PPG this season.
NIU's defense has struggled this year. NIU has given up 35 to Idaho (1-9), 24 to Purdue (1-8), and 39 to Eastern Illinois (an FCS team). Over the last 4 weeks, NIU's defense has started to stop teams that, well... cannot even score versus sub- par teams. NIU will struggle to stop a passing offense like Ball State's because they ultimately failed at stopping teams with just above-average passing attacks (Idaho and EIU), so when it comes down to it, I just cannot see NIU holding Wenning to even 400 yards passing.
Jordan Lynch will make this one close through the first, but then will struggle the rest of way as NIU fails to keep up with Keith Wenning and Willie Snead, as those two put up more and more yards, and most importantly points, as Ball State cruises to an easy win.
Final Score: Ball State 52 Northern Illinois 34
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