With the Ball State Cardinals' final non-conference game coming up versus the Georgia State Panthers, we chat with fellow SB Nation site Underdog Dynasty to learn more about the 1-4 Sun Belt school based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hustle Belt: Georgia State is tops in the Sun Belt in passing. Ball State has struggled defensively all season. Do you think if GSU wins it will be through the air?
Underdog Dynasty: Absolutely. Georgia State only does two things well - passing offense and place kicking -but they do those two things extremely well. They are 18th nationally in passing yards and 122nd in rushing yards. They're a defense comp for BSU, at least in the sense that they are equally bad (except their run/pass numbers are flipped), and on offense they're a much, much more bipolar version.
The Panthers' goal is often to get things into one of those "whoever has the ball last will probably win (except if it's Georgia State they'll need an opponent whose kicking game is just bad enough to make a difference like NMSU)" type shootout games. Long sentence, I know, but if you watch that game you will understand that first sentence and how literal I am being.
The Cardinal defense is bad enough that Georgia State can take advantage of it, but that's not the first time that's been true this season and the Panthers are 1-4. It's unlikely they'll win, but that's likely how it will happen.
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Hustle Belt: Who are the players to keep an eye on going into Saturday?
Underdog Dynasty: So if I mentioned they do two things well, you'll be shocked to know that the people to watch are quarterback Nick Arbuckle (who never meet a deep ball he didn't like), his receiving core of Penny Hart, Robert Davis and Donovan Harden, and kicker Wil Lutz (he's missed one kick inside 40 yards since the start of 2013).
I can't really tout any defensive players, as nobody has been consistently productive or explosive enough to warrant mention, but maybe that changes this week?
Hustle Belt: What would it mean for this squad to grab a win over another FBS opponent with the program's history in mind?
Underdog Dynasty: Well, when you're still able to count the number of FBS opponents that you've beaten on a single finger, every single addition to that tally is huge. Their history is not pretty, both on the field (game results) and off (whether they should even have the team, how myopic their fan base can be), so any positive addition is a welcome one.
Hustle Belt: Prediction time. Who do have winning and why?
Underdog Dynasty: The margin between these two teams is not big, similar to their win over New Mexico State. That said, the Panthers needed numerous things to break their way to pull out a win, and those things just aren't sustainable. 34-30 Ball State.
Thanks go to Underdog Dynasty for answering the pressing questions that we had. You can chck out their blog, which covers the AAC, Sun Belt, and C*USA by clicking here. They can also be found on Twitter @UnderdogDynasty.