BY JARIN MATHENY | Ball State Sports Link
Need To Know:
- Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET in Mt. Pleasant, MI. (Kelly/Shorts Stadium)
- Weather: Partly Cloudy. Temperature near 35º with winds at 5-10 mph.
- Pregame: Sports Link GameDay Live at 1 p.m.
- Where to watch: ESPNU at 2 p.m.
Ball State heads up to Michigan for the first of hopefully two times this season as the Cardinals take on Central Michigan.
Ball State, 3-1, continues to play in close games, with last week being no exception. The Cardinals 27-24 win over Toledo led to MAC West Player of the Week Honors for Drew Plitt and Christian Albright. It’s the second time this year the Cardinals have swept those two categories.
The Chippewas are also 3-1 following a victory last Saturday, but in come-from-behind fashion. Central Michigan outscored Eastern Michigan 25-3 in the fourth quarter to win 31-23.
They’ll be focused on trying to put points up against a Ball State defense that held Toledo to 42 yards on 28 carries last week.
Earlier this week, Ball State head coach Mike Neu talked about how big of an addition graduate transfer Anthony Ekpe has been, calling him a “Swiss Army Knife.”
“He’s got unbelievable strength for a guy that might not be overly tall in terms of stature,” Neu said. “He can win in different ways. It’s not just one way that he can win.
He does a good job of finishing the deal, finishing the rush and he’s got a knack for getting the ball out and making a play when we need it the most.”
Ekpe, a Texas native, leads the Cardinals defense in sacks and forced fumbles. Ball State will be looking to win the turnover margin against Central Michigan today, as the Chippewas lead the conference in takeaways with 10.
Central Michigan holds a slim 26-25-1 advantage over Ball State in the series. The last time the Cardinals visited Mount Pleasant two years ago, then senior Morgan Hagee made a 36 yard field goal for the win with less than a minute to go.
The Key For Central Michigan?
SIMPLIFY YOUR OFFENSE.
Quarterback Ty Brock will be making his first career start at the FBS level in place of the injured Daniel Richardson. Brock went 9-for-16 passing last week, but was primarily used in the red zone prior to replacing Richardson.
Expect the Chippewas to rely heavily on their run game and getting the ball in the hands of Kalil Pimpleton often.
The Key For Ball State?
FOCUS ON THE NOW.
This is a must win game for the Cardinals. Ball State needs to make sure they are focused on the 1-0 motto and not thinking about next week.
With a win today, the Cardinals would put themselves in position to win the MAC West title next week against Western Michigan.
Full coverage of Ball State Football from Ball State Sports Link will be available with Sports Link GameDay, streaming live at 1 p.m.