BY ANDREW WILLETT | Ball State Sports Link
It was a tough start for Ball State Wednesday night, as it kicked off the season with a loss to bitter-rival Miami, 38-31.
Ball State’s defense was not great, as it gave up 38 points to a beaten up Miami team without its top two running backs and its starting quarterback being knocked out of the game.
Ball State knew the offense was going to be able to put up points, but the biggest question heading into this game was whether or not the defense could stop a talented Miami attack.
There was one player who stood out above the rest — outside linebacker Anthony Ekpe.
Ekpe came into Ball State this season as a transfer from Rice University where he was a three-year starter.
In this time with the Owls, Ekpe recorded 9.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and 67 total tackles.
He missed a majority of the 2019 season due to a midseason injury and Ekpe started the season coming off the bench.
In that role Wednesday night, he provided great depth for Ball State’s linebackers core to start the season.
Ball State fans should get used to hearing from Ekpe.
Against Miami, Ekpe was exactly what Sports Link GameDay LIVE Analyst, Jarin Matheny, said he would be for this Cardinals team: a playmaker.
Ekpe recorded three tackles, including two sacks, one of which was a strip sack and nearly won Ball State the game in the closing minute.
The senior linebacker had a great start for a Ball State team and defense that was not quite as sharp, and for that, he was Ball State’s defensive player of the week.