GameDay Primer: Ball State vs. Eastern Michigan

BY JARIN MATHENY | Ball State Sports Link

Need To Know:

  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET in Muncie, Ind. (Gainbridge Field at Scheumann Stadium)
  • Weather: Clear skies. Temperature near 50º with winds at 5-10 mph. 
  • Pregame: Sports Link GameDay Live at 6 p.m.
  • Where to watch: CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m.
  • Radio stream:  (Jarin Matheny, Shaemus Kreider, Peyton Monnell)
  • #DOB – Detroit or Bust | @bsusportslink on Twitter

The Ball State Cardinals have something to prove when it hits the field tonight, welcoming division rival Eastern Michigan for the home opener of the 2020 season. 

Following a 38-31 loss at Miami last week, it was another case of the Cardinals failing to close out a close game to begin the year.

Quite possibly the most important thing about 2020 is keeping a week-to-week mindset and not letting last week’s performance affect this week’s game against Eastern.

Christian Albright

After last week’s game, Ball State head coach Mike Neu was excited about the success of some of the newcomers to the roster. 

“Getting some pressure on the quarterback, especially from the outside linebacker position, ” Neu said. “They played extremely well as a group.”  

Seniors Christian Albright and Jaylin Thomas made plays, as well as graduate transfer Anthony Ekpe who was flying to the ball all game long.

Very similar to last week’s matchup, the Cardinals need to be able to get the ball into the hands of seniors — receiver Justin Hall and running back Caleb Huntley.

The Georgia natives combined for more than 250 all-purpose yards and all four touchdowns last week against Miami.

For Huntley, his 130 yards on the ground tied him with Tony Nibbs for fifth-most 100 yard games at Ball State. 

Series History

The Cardinals lead the series over the Eagles 35-24-2. Ball State broke a three-game losing streak with last year’s 29-23 victory in Ypsilanti. However, EMU has won the last two games it has played in Muncie. 

The Key For Eastern?

Ride with your young talent.

Eastern Michigan is loaded with experience on the offensive line, with three starters having more than 10 starts in their career. That can help open up the run game for this freshman led backfield.

Darius Boone Jr., a freshman out of Oklahoma, ran for 68 yards last week in his first collegiate game. Boone can be a difference maker for the Eagles, coming into Eastern ranked as the fourth-best running back in his home state. 

The Key For Ball State?

Dominate on offense.

Ball State has struggled over the course of the last three seasons slowing down opposing offenses. With Eastern Michigan in town tonight though, the defense has a chance to make an impact on this game immediately against the Eagles quarterback Preston Hutchinson.

Watch for grad transfer Anthony Ekpe to be even more influential in stopping both the run and pass.  

Tune In

Full coverage of Ball State Football from Sports Link will be available with Sports Link GameDay streaming live at 6 p.m. You can also listen to full coverage of the game on SL Digital Radio at