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2018 MAC Week Three Football Preview: Ball State Cardinals at Indiana Hoosiers

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The Cardinals wont be sneaking into this one

NCAA Football: Ball State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Ball State Cardinals gave the Notre Dame Fighting Irish everything they could handle last week. Up next for the Cardinals are an Indiana Hoosiers team that has started the season 2-0. Three out of the last four times these two teams tangled, the Cardinals came out on top. Throw in the close loss, and the Hoosiers wont be looking past this game.


Game Details

When: Saturday, Sept 15th, 12:05 PM

Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana

Watch: Big Ten Network

Listen: WLBC 104.1 FM

Line: Indiana -15


When Ball State Has the Ball

The Cardinals seem to have an efficient offense this season led by quarterback Riley Neal. After missing most of last season with injury, he has done a good job of distributing the football. Running back James Gilbert, who also missed most of last season, is also playing well. Caleb Huntley and Malik Dunner have also done a good job running the football. Where the Cardinals are lacking is with a deep play receiver, though Yo’Heinz Tyler has shown some promise.

The Hoosiers have shown an ability to keep teams from passing, but that might be more about opponent and weather than being a stout defense. The Hoosiers are giving up 4.6 yards per carry, and that could play right into the Cardinals hands.

I do expect the Cardinals to be able to move the football against the Hoosiers, and score some points. They wont be going up and down the field, but will have some success.


When Indiana Has the Ball

When I initially looked at this game at the beginning of the season, I circled it because I thought it had the potential to be a fun track meet. After the first couple of games, both teams defenses have looked better than expected. While I do expect Indiana to move the football, I don’t expect them to score at will. Redshirt Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey has looked good, as has freshman running back Stevie Scott. Receiver Donavan Hale has looked good coming off an injury last season, and might be the biggest play threat on either side of the ball.


Prediction

I expect this to be a really good football game between similarly matched football teams. The million dollar question is “Did the Notre Dame close loss take it all out of the Cardinals, or give them energy?” Since this is also an instate rivalry game, and I believe the Cardinals will be able to move the ball on the ground, I look for Ball State to keep it close. However, in the end home field advantage will be too much, and the Hoosiers win 31-28.