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Western Michigan Broncos @ Ball State Cardinals: 5 Things Learned

The Broncos are 9-0 for the first time ever, let’s celebrate!

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

1.) The Western Michigan Broncos are really good, especially their offense

Western Michigan has been rolling on offense. The Broncos put on a clinic against a Ball State defense that has been, for the most part, respected in the MAC. Western Michigan put up 52 points and 553 total yards of offense. Is this what we expect to see week in and week out from this offense now?

The Broncos offense has put up at least 40 points in their last six games. The Broncos defense would have to be pretty bad to lose games when their offense is putting up 40 points consistently. Luckily for Western Michigan, their defense is not. Defenses playing the Broncos moving forward are going to have to really show up, especially with the connection that Terrell and Davis possess right now.

The quest for an undefeated season continues for Western Michigan. They will finish their regular season against Kent State, Buffalo and Toledo. Their toughest matchup will be at the hands of the Rockets, who are currently 6-2 on the season and second in the MAC West behind the Broncos.

2.) Corey Davis may not only be the best receiver in the MAC, but in the country as well

Corey Davis was phenomenal against the Cardinals. He finished with 12 receptions 272 receiving yards and three touchdowns. With this performance Davis broke the MAC single-game receiving yard record. It also pushes him past Ryan Broyles, for 2nd all-time in career receiving yards in the FBS with 4,789 receiving yards. Lastly, his three touchdowns makes him tied for the MAC career receiving touchdowns record with 47.

Davis possess the speed, height, hands and athleticism to be called the nation’s best receiver. Scouts have been projecting Davis to be a late second round pick in the NFL Draft all season. Will be interesting to see where he lands in the next NFL Mock Draft after his record breaking night.

3.) The Western Michigan defense is not to be taken lately

The Broncos have been forcing turnovers all year to compliment their stellar offense. They forced two interceptions against Jack Milas and forced one fumble against Ball State receiver Damon Hazleton Jr. For the season they have forced 11 interceptions and seven fumbles, which totals for 18 turnovers forced. Out of the 11 interceptions they have returned three for touchdowns, all by their top cornerback Darius Phillips.

The Broncos also have the best scoring defense in the MAC, allowing opponents to 19.2 points per game. They have seen progression in their last three contests, allowing an average of 17 points per game.

If their defense keeps up this pace, this Western Michigan team will be continue to be more or less unbeatable.

NCAA Football: Ball State at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

4.) James Gilbert IS the Ball State offense

James Gilbert is having a great year and had another good game against the Broncos. Gilbert did not find the end zone, but rushed 29 times for 155 yards. He has rushed for 1,142 yards on the season, which leads the MAC and is good for third in the nation. Gilbert is a workhorse back and has been fed the ball 210 times this season. With the amount of times the Cardinals rely on Gilbert each game, the sophomore running back still holds an impressive yards per carry average at 5.4 yards per rush.

The Cardinals are lucky that Gilbert will return next year. He will definitely continue be the center piece of their offense and will be interesting to see what he can do as their star player moving forward.

5.) Ball State is looking ahead, and leaving the past behind them

The Cardinals will most likely be looking forward to next season after this loss. The chances of Ball State making a bowl game are very slim. They find themselves in sixth of the MAC West at 4-5. If they were in the MAC East they would be in third, but the Cardinals are unfortunately placed in the tough MAC West.

For now, it is pretty clear Riley Neal will run this offense after Milas’ less then stellar performance tonight. Neal fits the offense a little better than Milas does. The fact that Neal is younger already gives him the advantage over Milas. Neal also has the upper hand in being able to run the ball and manage the offense a little better. The Cardinals should continue to get more competitive in the MAC as years progress.