Central Michigan v Ball State Preview: Can CMU Dance With the Cardinals?

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Will the Ball State Dance Marathon provide the Chippewas with the right steps to win on Wednesday night?

Central Michigan Chippewas 3-5, 2-2 MAC at Ball State Cardinals 8-1, 5-0 MAC
Scheumann Stadium, Muncie Indiana
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 8:04 pm EST
Television: ESPN2 Radio 98.5 FM WUPS, Houghton Lake, MI, 91.3 WCRD, Muncie, IN

There will be an all out effort to pack Scheumann Stadium on Wednesday night for the Central Michigan - Ball State football game. If the Ball State University Dance Marathon group is successful in motivating 10,000 Ball State students to attend the Cardinal's' football game with Central Michigan, the Ball State Athletic Department will give the group $10,000.Three cheers to the BSU Dance Marathon in hoping they succeed in reaching their goal.

A different type of dance marathon is likely to take place in the Central Michigan offensive backfield. At the start of the 2013 football season, junior quarterback Cody Kater and senior running back Zurlon Tipton were set to lead the team back to respectability in the MAC West. The Chippewa receiving corps, led by junior Titus Davis, were watering at their mouthes at the prospect of catching bombs delivered by Kater. Tipton, a first team all MAC and NFL prospect, was set to have another successful year that would propel him into the status of an all-time CMU great.

Tragedy struck almost as soon as the season began. Both Kater and Tipton were injured and out of action before the end of the first half of the Chippewas opening game against Michigan. Freshman quarterback Cooper Rush and sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii received battlefield promotions. Rush has completed 54.8% of his passes and thrown for 9 touchdowns. Lavallii has exceeded all expectations by averaging 100 yards per game rushing.

Flash forward to the end of a very long bye period following CMU's last game, which was on October 19, 2013. Kater and Tipton are reportedly participating in practice and may be able to play on Wednesday night. This would be an upgrade for the Chips at two key skilled positions. It also creates major headaches for the Ball State coaching staff trying to match up against potential dance partners.

As of late, Ball State has been successfully dancing to its own beat. The Cardinals have strung together six victories in a row including an impressive victory over ACC foe Virginia. Senior quarterback Keith Wenning has been having a year for the record books. Wenning has completed 62.4% of his passes and has thrown for 2,865 yards and 23 touchdowns.

The Ball State defense poses a particular challenge for CMU as the Cardinals lead the nation in both fumbles recovered and the NCAA in turnovers. Turnovers have plagued the Chippewas and have been very costly in losses to Toledo, UNLV and Northern Illinois.

Linebacker Ben Ingle leads the Cardinals on defense. He has recorded 74 tackles on the season and appeared to be everywhere in Ball State's recent victory over Akron. Overall, the Cardinal defense has held opponents to a stingy 212 points for the season.

Regardless of who gets to dance for CMU on Wednesday night, Ball Sate presents a tough challenge for the participants from CMU.

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