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2022 MAC Football Week 8 Game Preview: Eastern Michigan Eagles at Ball State Cardinals

Should be an interesting one as Ball State once again has to defend home turf against an EMU side looking to get back on track.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 01 Ball State at Tennessee
Ball State faces the Eagles on Saturday
Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Eastern Michigan Eagles travel down I-69 to Muncie, Indiana, where they will face the Ball State Cardinals. Both teams are 4-3 overall, but the Cardinals are 2-1 in the MAC, while the Eagles are 1-2, giving BSU the edge in the divisional table.

Ball State find themselves where they are in the division thanks to the three-game winning streak they’re riding, while the Eagles are coming off a 39-10 loss against the Northern Illinois Huskies.

As far as mutual opponents go, Eastern Michigan beat Western Michigan by a score of 45-23, while Ball State lost to Western Michigan by a score of 37-30. Ball State beat Northern Illinois by a score of 44-38, while EMU lost by 29 points. Based on this, one would expect Ball State to have a good game against the Eagles.

Ball State is led by quarterback John Paddock, a first-year upperclassman starter. In the seven games he has played this year, he has 62 percent completion rate and averages 258 yards per game, throwing for 12 touchdowns and seven picks. The Ball State rushing attack is led by Carson Steele, who besides having a cool name, also averages over 100 yards per game. The leading receiver for the Cardinals is Jayshon Jackson, who averages 81 yards per game. On average, Ball State scores 26 points per game and gives up 29 points per game.

On defense, the Cardinals have gotten five interceptions and seven fumble recoveries, giving BSU a +2 turnover margin. They also average roughly two sacks per game, maintaining one of the more opportunistic and steady defenses in the league.

The Eagles are likely going to be led by Taylor Powell, who has a 63 percent completion rate and averages 234 yards per game. In five games, Powell has eight touchdowns and six interceptions. The Eagles rushing attack is lead by Samson Evans, who averages 90 yards per game. On receiving, the Eagles use a multitude of targets, but the leading one is Tanner Knue with 60 yards per game. The Eagles average 28 points per game while giving up 32 points per game.

On defense, the Eagles have two interceptions and three fumble recoveries. They have 12 sacks, but the bulk of those have come against Western Michigan; without that performance, they have just five total over the other six games.

I think the key to this game is if Eastern Michigan can use that disrupting defense they used against Western Michigan. I’m not sure how well that’s going to work, as Ball State has only given up six sacks so far. One area that Eastern Michigan might have an advantage is in its kicking game. If their defense can manage to hold Ball State enough, they might be able to win the field advantage game.

Based on what I see above though, I think Ball State is going to make it four in a row and Eastern Michigan is going to find themselves in a giant hole to win the MAC.