Chirp, Chirp friends! The Ball State University Cardinals (1-0) butt heads with the Army Black Knights (1-0) Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM ET in glorious Muncie, Indiana. The Cardinals rolled in their season opener, defeating the Illinois State Redbirds 51-28. Army also got off on the right foot, knocking down the Morgan State Bears 28-12.
Ball State and Army are familiar opponents, meeting for the third consecutive year, and fourth time in five seasons. Cardinals coach Pete Lembo acknowledged the advantages and disadvantages this presents.
"It helps that we have a little bit better idea of what to expect, but so do they," Lembo said. "They can be a little better prepared going in."
The Black Knights triple option offense, behind quarterback Angel Santiago, amassed 396 yards of offense in their defeat of the Bears last week. Santiago, making just his second career start, rushed for 120 yards, 3 touchdowns, and threw for another score. The Ball State defense will need to tighten the screws as they allowed 356 yards against an FCS offense a week ago.
Yards for the Black Knights have been easy to come by in years past against Cardinals. In the last two games against Ball State, Army has run up 402 and 341 yards respectively. The Cardinals have managed to keep Army off the scoreboard however, as they've outscored the Black Knights 78-43, both BSU wins.
Saturday may turn into a shootout. Trailing Illinois State at half time in their opener, the Ball State offense exploded in the second half. Quarterback Keith Wenning threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns, two of those to preseason All-MAC selection Willie Snead. Ball State's balanced attack included touchdowns from running backs Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks.
Lembo has prepared his squad for complexities that Army presents.
"This is definitely a big chess match this weekend," Lembo said. The guys just have to make sure they go out there and stick to their assignments."
Vegas has Ball State as eight point favorites. Take the Cardinals, lay the points, chirp through the weekend.