4. College Football News Preview 2020: Ball State Cardinals Defense 3 Things To Know
– The offense was fantastic as it cranked up yards and points in bunches, and the defense gave them up just as quickly. It didn’t have a pass rush, it allowed 425 yards and 31 points per game, and got hammered hard time and again by anyone who could throw a forward pass. However, the D led the MAC in takeaways, and it has 12 of the top 15 tacklers expected to be back.
– Three of the top four linebackers return, but leading tackler Jacob White is gone from the middle. Even so, the improvement on the defense starts with this bunch. 230-pound Brandon Martin brings the size, but he needs to get back up to speed after missing most of last year hurt, and leading sacker Jordan Williams – who came up with 4.5 sacks – is back on the strongside.
231-pound senior Jaylin Thomas is the leading returning tackler with 97 stops, and veteran star Christian Albright is a great all-around pass rusher and producer on the outside.
Up front, two starters are done, but the line gets bigger. Sophomore Justin Ramsey is a 5-11, 300-pound bowling ball of a nose tackle, but he fits the role. 271-pound James Jennette isn’t much of a pass rusher, but he’ll make tackles. Now he has to be more of a disruptive force and has to hold down better against the run.
– The secondary loses 83-tackle safety Ray Wilborn, but it gets back everyone else. Junior Amechi Uzodinma came up with five picks from one corner spot, Antonio Phillips generated four from the other side, and the two combine for 81 tackles. Play them around senior Bryce Cosby at safety – who came up with 78 tackles – and there’s a whole lot to like.