By: Dane Massey
Ball State Sports Link
Another tough test for Ball State this week as the Cardinals get ready for their second conference matchup of the year against 4-1 Western Michigan Broncos. Coming off a huge win against then undefeated Army, the Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak, and look to carry that momentum into this highly anticipated matchup.
Western Michigan came out of the gates red hot, as they are currently sitting at 4-1 alongside being 1-0 in conference play. After losing their season opener on the road against Michigan, the Broncos went on a four-game win streak. Including a road win against Buffalo.
Sophomore quarterback Kaleb Eleby is leading the Mid-American Conference in passing and is among one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. Along with junior running back La’Darius Jefferson being in the top three in rushing, and sophomore wideouts Skyy Moore and Corey Crooms being in the top five for receiving in the conference.
As the Cardinals prepare for a battle with one of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference, here are a few players to be on watch for.
DREW PLITT AND THE WIDEOUTS:
Coming off arguably his best game this season, quarterback Drew Plitt has shown to perform at his best when his back is against the wall. Throwing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns, Plitt looks to continue to lead the offense to another victory against the Broncos.
The wideouts for Plitt also had a very impressive game last week against Army. Yo’Heinz Tyler, Justin Hall, and Jayshon Jackson all had a night of their own. All three wideouts combined for 221 yards receiving with Tyler and Jackson having a touchdown each on the day.
Justin Hall although not having a receiving score, he did have a 99-yard kick return touchdown in the beginning seconds of the game. Expect Plitt to continue his momentum into this game and expect the highlight reel to be all over his wideouts on the field.
As linebacker Brandon Martin was out due to injury, the Cardinals called for the next man up, and in a high-pressure game against undefeated Army, Cole Pearce delivered for the Cardinals. Not only did the junior out of Mason, Ohio fill the need for another linebacker, but he also had an explosive day racking up 14 total tackles with a tackle for a loss.
As Pearce was rewarded with a scholarship with an unbelievable performance, expect him to be another weapon to be used in the linebacker core in another crucial game.
“You know you always preach about the next man up and being ready to go when your number is called,” head coach Mike Neu said. “In the clear case of Cole Pearce last weekend, [he was] obviously asked to be in a different role and to increase his reps. More than he’s got for the first time on the defensive side of the ball, to see him step in and do what he did. Go back and watch films like, ‘Wow, that was awesome.’ Play after play and he was all over the place and making tackles and he was ready, and you could tell just the way he played the game with confidence…”
Ball State (2-3, 0-1 MAC) kicks off at Western Michigan (4-1, 1-0 MAC) this Saturday at 3:30. Stay up to date with content @bsusportslink.