Come Saturday, neither the Cardinals nor the Eagles will be in the west race, and neither will be in any type of spoiler role. But, for both team's seniors a chance at playing a time more. For those in green it's about getting one victory over the Cards, while those in red will be going for a four-year sweep of their divisional rival.
Last year, Ball State rolled right through the Eagles and came out with a 51-20 victory to help finish at 10-2.. This year, things are a bit different with both teams looking to be going through a rebuilding process of some kind. With out further ramblings, let's get to our breakdown.
Ball State Offense vs. Eastern Michigan Defense:
Jack Milas has been on the bright spots of a rough Ball State season, giving the Cards a threat at the quarterback position they didn't quite have with Ozzie Mann under center. With five games under his belt Milas has put up more points, scored more touchdowns, won one more game and put up over 200 more yards than Mann did in his five starts. But, despite the numbers, Milas is currently going through his roughest stretch of the season.
After going 2-1 in his first three starts, and throwing no interceptions, Milas has thrown five interceptions in his last two starts versus Northern Illinois and UMass.
Senior running back Jahwan Edwards was a big reason why BSU couldn't get going at UMass. Edwards had season lows in yards and carries, racking up just 36 yards on the ground. Edwards also had a season low in yards per carry, picking up just 2.3 yards on his average touch.
For a struggling Ball State offense, Eastern could be just what the doctor ordered. The Eagles have allowed at least 27 points in all but one game this year. Last week the Eagles allowed over 50 to Western Michigan, the third time this season a opponent hit the half-century mark on the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan Offense vs. Ball State Defense:
The reasons for EMU's 2-8 start can been right in the offense marks. Eastern ranks dead last in the FBS in scoring, putting up a dismal 13.8 points per game. Getting over the 17 point-mark might be the key to victory for Eastern. The Eagles are 2-0 when they put up more than 17 on the season and 0-8 when they score 17 or less.
The Eagles look to have finally settled on someone at quarterback position, giving at least some hope for future stability at the position with freshman Reggie Bell Jr. settling in nicely at the spot. Last week Bell threw more passes than normal because of the lopsided score, resulting in a career high in passing yards and passer rating for one game.
When it comes to the Ball State defense, it's been mostly a struggle throughout the 2014 season with some bright spots sprinkled in throughout. The Cards have struggled with giving up late touchdowns in multiple games, including blowing a 13-3 lead at Iowa, a late game-winning touchdown was given up to fall to FCS foe Indiana State as well as late scores being given up at Toledo and Army, sealing away any chance at a Ball State victory.
When the Cards won games, those wins have always came with the defense creating a few turnovers. In wins over Central Michigan and Akron the Cards forced nine turnovers and easy scoring opportunities for a young quarterback in Milas.
Eastern Michigan only has one FBS-level victory and that was with Bell running all over Buffalo. The only other game where the Eagles have lead going into the fourth quarter involved another great rushing performance by Bell. Don't expect Bell to do this Muncie. Look for Edwards and Milas to have field days on the weak EMU defense and for Ball State to roll early and often 'en route to a dismantling of the Eagles.
Ball State 31, Eastern Michigan 13