There were few to no bright spots for the Ball State Cardinals in 2018, and that’s putting it lightly. Anything bad that could possibly happen to the crown gem of Muncie, Indiana, did happen to them. Whether it was freak injuries, or freak on-field play, the Cardinals’ season simply did not go to plan.
Not everything was bad for the Cardinal and White, however. They fought to the bitter end and found some positive results in a season that could very well have been lost early on, and in the process, found several pieces on both sides of the ball that will contribute significantly to the upcoming season.
Perhaps the most important piece for the upcoming Cards reboot is Riley Miller, a former walk-on redshirt senior wide receiver from Yorktown, Indiana.
Miller was the steadiest offensive weapon for the Cardinals in a season which saw a fellow wideout finish as the most efficient quarterback on the roster, finishing 2018 with 61 receptions for 878 yards and seven touchdowns. Miller finished second on the team in receptions (Justin Hall, with 69, paced the Cardinals), and led them in receiving yards and touchdowns. Miller had three 100+ yard receiving games, including an electric 208-yard performance against Kent State, and was nearly impossible to stop in the conference season, tallying up at least one touchdown catch in the final six games of the year.
Standing at six-foot-one, 200 lbs., Miller isn’t the biggest or most physical receiver, but his speed and precision in running routes are an asset the team utilizes to its advantage fairly often. It’s easy to see why Miller is referred to by his teammates as “Goat”; Miller was amongst the top receivers in the league, finishing third in receptions per game (5.1), fourth in receiving yards per game (73.2), and finished second-team all-MAC in 2018 for his efforts.
Miller was named to the Athlon Sports preseason first-team all-MAC offense, which isn’t a big surprise considering his offense output touchdown-wise was better than the rest of the wide receiver group combined. Miller will likely feature prominently once again in 2019, as other wideouts such as Justin Hall and Yo’Heniz Taylor will continue to develop behind him.
Ball State will have to suffer through some growing pains as fourth-year head coach Mike Neu will have to re-tool the offense after significant losses at the skill positions, but Miller will be a dependable option barring injury that the Cards can depend on in 2019.