By: Dane Massey
Ball State Sports Link
Following a 29-30 loss to Northern Illinois in Dekalb, the Cardinals have been officially eliminated from the Mid-American Conference championship conversation. However, Ball State is looking to put themselves above .500 in hopes to have a chance at a bowl game in January. Ball State is looking to notch its fifth win in its last seven games.
Meanwhile in Mount Pleasant, the Central Michigan Chippewas are on a two-game win streak after falling to Northern Illinois the same way Ball State did, a game-sealing field goal. The Chippewas have been red hot on the back half of the year. After starting the year with a 2-3 record, Central Michigan won four of their last five games to put their record at 6-4 going into this matchup with the Cardinals.
The offense for the Chippewas has been rolling this season and is arguably one of the best in the MAC, with their lowest scoring game being 26 points. It’s been the defensive side of the ball that has been the issue for Central Michigan, allowing 20 or more points in their last five games. Along with 30 points in their last three.
Chippewa freshman quarterback Daniel Richardson has been impressive this season, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns, along with only two interceptions. Marking him as one of the top quarterbacks in the MAC as just a freshman. Ball State will have to step up to try and stop arguably one of the hottest teams in the conference.
As Ball State looks to become bowl eligible by notching it’s sixth win of the season, here are are a few key players to watch:
All eyes will be on one of the biggest faces of the defenses this week as Bryce Cosby will look to lead the Cardinals to a great defensive test in a very talented Central Michigan offense. In the loss to Northern Illinois, Cosby had another outstanding game, racking up 10 total tackles, along with six solo, and 0.5 tackles for a loss. Cosby will have to be solid against an offense that has thrown over 250 yards in passing over the last 34 games.
“Obviously they got good weapons [and] do a good job mixing it up offensively, spreading the ball around,” head coach Mike Neu said. “We have to play good defense; we saw a lot of these same things a year ago when we played against Central [Michigan]…. For us we just have to play sound and complete…”
Cosby has totaled 10 or more tackles in each of Ball State’s last five games. Look for him to be very active against a pass-heavy offense.
Following back-to-back games with over 100 yards rushing, freshman running back Carson Steele will look to go for a three-peat against the Chippewas. Steele, former Mr. Football in Indiana, has been a crucial part in Ball State’s offense as the season has progressed. Not only in just the run game, but giving Cardinal quarterback Drew Plitt some extra protection, as well as another receiving weapon for him to throw to.
Steele is currently ranked a top-10 running-back in the MAC as a freshman following his two 100-yard rushing games. He is looking to be a crucial part of the offense going forward for not only the rest of this year but has proved to be a crucial part of the Ball State offense in the future.
Expect Steele to continue his dominant running game against a Central Michigan defense that gave up more than 100 yards rushing two of its last three games.