All Ball State fans are hurting bad from last week. Barely losing to the Iowa Hawkeyes 17-13 was very upsetting to the Cardinal community. Fortunately Ball State will be back at home for week 3 trying to get a win over Indiana State. This is the second FCS team the Cardinals have played this year. The Sycamores are coming off a 49-14 win over Tennessee Tech, and a 28-10 loss to Indiana. We will see how well Ball State bounces back from their devastating loss.
On a positive note, Ball State had a terrific defensive effort against the Hawkeyes. Only allowing three points throughout the first three quarters against a Big 10 team is huge. Their defense has taken huge strides in a positive direction this year, and it should be a big part of their success. Indiana State also has some very positive aspects of their defense. They have not let up a single passing touchdown this year. That being said, their rush defense has been less than stellar. In week one, against the Indiana Hoosiers, they let up four rushing touchdowns, and 455 total rushing yards.
The Cardinals should definitely take advantage of the Sycamores poor run defense. I expect Ball State to run the ball all day, giving the carries to Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks. They should both have a huge day, similar to what they did against Colgate (311 rushing yards). The Indiana State running attack is based around Buck Logan and LeMonte Booker. LeMonte Booker had a huge game against Tennessee Tech last week, rushing for three touchdowns. However, Buck Logan was the star rusher against Indiana in week one, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and finding the endzone once. Their running back situation is similar to Ball State's; they have two good rushers that split carries. It's tough to really say which running back will emerge against Ball State.
On the passing side, the quarterback for Ball State, Ozzie Mann, will hopefully get the opportunity to air the ball out a little bit this weekend. He hasn't really had much of a chance to do so. Most of his passes have been for very little gain. This is what most people would expect out of a new quarterback playing against a Big 10 team for the first time. He had a 50% completion rate, and threw for 129 yards. Nothing special really. A positive thing that the Cardinal fans can take out of the game is he didn't throw an interception. The Sycamore quarterback, Mike Perish was able to tear apart Tennessee Tech's defense last week. He threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns. He had a performance similar to Mann when playing a Big 10 team. Against Indiana, he threw for 140 yards, no touchdowns. With how good we saw the Cardinals secondary can be, he may have a tough day repeating the numbers he put up against Tennessee Tech.
Receiving wise, Jordan Williams has not made too much of an impact for Ball State. He only caught for 18 yards against the Hawkeyes, and only six yards the week prior. This is a huge shock for most fans. He was supposed to be one of the best wide receivers in the MAC. Once Mann gets more comfortable airing the ball out, Williams will see his numbers rise. He will certainly have a better game against Indiana State this week. Maybe not putting up 100 plus receiving yards, but he will certainly make a bigger impact than what he has been doing. KeVonn Mabon has been the only big receiving threat for Ball State. Last game, he caught for 44 yards. Not much, but you also have to take into consideration that the Cardinals struggled offensively against that Hawkeye defense. Indiana State doesn't really have any standout receivers either. The one guy I would look out for against the Cardinals would be Gary Owens. Last game, he caught for 199 yards and one touchdown. He, by far, had the best receiving performance on the team. Unfortunately, he didn't make much of an impact when playing Indiana, as he only had 13 yards. If any receiver has a big game against Ball State, I expect that it will be him.
This inner-state match will be an interesting one. I expect that Ball State will get the win, but the Sycamores have put up some decent performances this year. The Indiana Hoosiers may not be known for their football, but the Sycamores still put up a fight against them. Also, coming off a blowout win over Tennessee Tech is huge boost for this Indiana State team. I know the Cardinals are looking to bounce back from that loss, and I think that their talent will be just too much for the Sycamores.