Ball State Sports Link
The Cardinals are bringing it back home this Saturday at Scheumann Stadium for a highly anticipated week four matchup against the Toledo Rockets.
Both teams come into conference action with a 1-2 record looking to get back to .500. Whoever walks out of this fight with the win will likely have a great advantage in the MAC West Division.
The Cardinals are looking to get over their two-week slump after losing by a large margin of points on the road against Penn State then another suffering another loss at Wyoming the following week. Hopes are high for Ball State to snap their losing streak on this season’s undefeated territory.
Following the unprecedented loss against the Cowboys, head coach Mike Neu praised the Cardinals for continuing to compete in the second half despite the deficit.
“We competed in the second half, but unfortunately, by the time we competed, we had put ourselves in a big hole,” coach Neu explains. “I am proud of some of the guys for the way they compete down the stretch but it’s a disappointing day and up to me to get it fixed.”
With the Cardinals hosting the conference opener, this game will allow the team to get its footing back and potentially become that offseason favorite they once were prior to the start of the season. Coach Neu has reigned true to his word on getting the Cardinals situation ‘fixed’ in a comment about the team’s mindset ahead of Saturday’s opener:
“Obviously [we’re] excited to have our conference opener this weekend against toledo here, especially having it at Scheumann Stadium,” Neu said in a press release this week. “Today was our first day on the practice field with the players attacking our game plan for toledo so obviously a good start to the week, [I] liked what I saw on the practice field, certainly there are things when you get back to the meeting room having this been the first day, gotta tweak a couple of things clean up a couple of things, like where the attitude is at, like where the mindset is at.”
The Cardinals still have a strong chance at changing the narrative this weekend. The last time Toledo and Ball State faced off, the Cardinals left the Glass Bowl with a three point win 27-24 advancing them to 3-1 in 2020.
In order to rewrite history, the Cardinals must know their opponent:
Toledo’s offense underperformed in week three’s 16-point loss in the Colorado State matchup. While the Rockets have the muscle to move the ball, they only managed to score six points while recording just 291 total yards to clear the day– a surprising ending considering Toledo’s average of 28 points per game.
While fighting to get back to .500, the Rockets will depend heavily on sophomore quarterback, Carter Bradley who has record 658 passing yards and two passing touchdowns so far this season. Bradley enters week four against the Cardinals with zero interceptions.
It will be up to this Cardinals defense to apply pressure to Bradley stopping him from gaining any yardage or utilizing weapons in junior running back Bryant Koback who has 198 yards and two rushing touchdowns along with sophomore wideout Devin Maddoc who holds 254 yards, 14 receptions, and a touchdown.
Toledos defense only allows roughly 20 points a game through a tough schedule. This team’s ability to keep teams behind chains and force turnovers is something the Cardinals offense must be prepared for.
The Rockets lead the MAC currently with seven sacks, defensive end Terrance Taylor leading the team with two.
Despite losses against Notre Dame and Colorado State, this Rockets defense has been posed as this teams strongest unit with key playmakers Dyonte Johnson (LB) who tallies 19 tackles for the season and Maxen Hook (S) who tallied for 18 so far with 11 of those being solo tackles.
You can catch this matchup on Sports Links live ESPN+ broadcast on Saturday at 2 p.m.