With a loss to Georgia State behind them, the Ball State Cardinals will try to get back on track when they host Cooper Rush and the Central Michigan Chippewas later today.
Both of these teams are seven games into their seasons. Sitting at 2-4 overall, Ball State is going to have to make some magic happen to earn its way into Bowl Season. The Cardinals are scheduled to play three teams with neutral or winning records after this date with Central Michigan. A win here against 3-3 CMU would really, really help the cause in Muncie.
As for the Chippewas, this season is on the hinges of being good, or being bad. It's this game against struggling Ball State, and then a meeting with 3-4 Akron. Toledo looms after the matchup with the Zips, and then it's two struggling teams to end the year for Central Michigan. The Chips should pose a personal challenge to themselves to grab two wins in these two weeks before battling Toledo and going on the road against Kent State.
Quick Game Info
Matchup: Central Michigan Chippewas (3-4, 2-1) at Ball State Cardinals (2-5, 1-2)
Location: Scheumann Stadium - Muncie, IN.
Date/Time: Saturday, October 24th, 3:00pm.
TV/Streaming: ESPN3. Click here to watch live.
Radio: IMG CSN Radio Network (Central Michigan) or WCRD 91.3 (Ball State). Click here to watch live.
Odds: CMU -7.5. Click here for a full list of odds.
Keeping up on Twitter?: Follow @HustleBelt, @BallStateFB, or @CMU_Football.
Players to Watch:
Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush. The Chippewas junior quarterback has already thrown for over two thousand yards this season. Rush has six targets that have caught at least fourteen passes and is able to make all the throws. Number ten has thrown 16 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Also scoring two times on the ground, Rush is able to extend plays and find time to make the most out of broken situations.
The Ball State secondary. The Cardinals just aren't good at defending the pass. Ball State gives up 295.4 yards per game through the air. That's 117th in the nation, and worst in the MAC. It'll have to be a huge improvement on defense if Ball State wants to compete with CMU this weekend. Central Michigan ranks 13th in the county in passing yards per game. This doesn't look good for Ball State, but maybe the Cards can step up and slow down Cooper Rush and his receivers.
Darian Green and the Ball State rushing attack. In two wins this season Ball State ran for an average of 253.5 yards per game. In five losses, the Cardinals could only dish out 142.2 yards on the ground. That's a difference of nearly one hundred yards. How's the scoring? BSU has scored eight touchdowns through the rushing attack in two wins. In the losses? Three scores. The combination of Darian Green and James Gilbert must get going to take the pressure off of quarterback Riley Neal and the defense.