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Football Preview - Eastern Michigan at Ball State

Two West Division teams face off...

Believe it or not, cardinal pictures are pretty elusive for me.
Kenneth Bailey

Both teams are coming off victories. Eastern Michigan managed to hang on to get a 28-26 victory over the Rockets, something that eluded them since 2006. Ball State got a last minute field goal to beat the Chippewas 24 to 23. Ball State (3-4 overall and 2-1 in the MAC) stands at third in the MAC West. Eastern Michigan (3-4 overall and 1-3 in the MAC) stands at fifth. This should be a pretty good match up.

One of the Ball State running backs from last year.
Kenneth Bailey

When Ball State has the ball, expect the offense to be lead by Riley Neal. So far this year, he is 166 for 281 and averages about 240 yards per game. He has thrown three picks though. He has also been sacked 14 times. James Gibbert is the rushing leader with 70 yards per game. The favorite receiving target is Riley Miller. On average Ball State scores 25 points per game.

Kyle Rachwal about to do something.
Kenneth Bailey

They are facing a defense led by Kyle Rachwal. That defense averages 2 sacks a game and forces an average of 2 turnovers per game. It is a very aggressive defense that might find itself in trouble against an offense that can exploit that. The Eastern Michigan defense holds its opponents to an average of 25 points per game. If trends continue, I would expect them to hold Ball State to less than that.

Tyler Wiegers running the ball.
Kenneth Bailey

Having not heard anything about the status of Mike Glass and having seen the game on Saturday, I will assume that the Eastern Michigan offense will be led by Tyler Wiegers. He is a pretty good passing quarterback at 85 for 134 for 144 yards but it seems like this offense needs the added spark that Mike Glass can bring. Since we saw him on Saturday, it is entirely possible that we might see Jarius Grissom take a few snaps. So far, Shaq Vann has been carrying the rushing load for the team but we might see Willie Parker take a few more snaps. Against the Rockets, he was able to gain 65 yards and seems to have a fifth or sixth gear.

Eastern Michigan may be able to find it’s running game against a defense that allowed an average of 196 rushing yards per game. I’m not sure how they will fare against the pass defense though. The Ball State defense is not as good at forcing turnovers as Eastern Michigan, but they might be able to force one or two.

While it’s not a cardinal, this might be a good representation of the game.
Kenneth Bailey

Last year, Eastern Michigan was able to give Ball State a pretty good shellacking to break a six game losing streak. This year, two different teams face off against each other. I don’t expect the blow out of last year but I do expect Eastern Michigan to emerge victorious. Just going on averages, I’ll say the final score will be 28 to 21 in favor of the Eagles.