College Football News Preview 2020: Ball State Cardinals Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Ball State Cardinals Offense
Score EVERY time there’s a chance. The Ball State offense might have been the best in the MAC last year, and it wasn’t bad in the red zone, but a few misfires proved costly.
The Cardinals lost three games by four points or fewer, and it was in a few of the other losses until late.
They failed to score on one of their seven trips inside the 20 against Central Michigan and lost 45-44. They failed to score once in their five red zone trips against Kent State and lost 41-38. They win both of those, and they’re bowling.
To be fair, the O had its best year in the red zone since 2014, but to go from mediocre to great, it has to hit the putts.
Biggest Key To The Ball State Cardinals Defense
Get the pass rush going. It would be nice to go back to the 2016 days of Anthony Wimbush and 32 sacks as a team, but just generating more pressure on a consistent basis is a plus.
Since 2016, the Cardinal defense went down to 24 in 2017, 20 in 2018, and just 15 last year. The D generated 11 of them in four games – winning three of them – and didn’t do enough to get into the backfield overall with a mere 65 tackles for loss.
The secondary survived – it led the MAC in interceptions – but it still gave up 245 yards per game. With the talent in the defensive backfield, a pass rush would do wonders.
That’s why …
Key Ball State Cardinals Player To A Successful Season
DE James Jennette, Sr.
The pressure in the backfield will come from the outside linebackers – Christian Albright and Jordan Williams should lead the team in sacks – but more pressure coming from Jennette would make a world of difference in the 3-4 alignment.
The 6-3, 271-pounder is more of a tackle than a normal pass rushing defensive end after beefing up before last year, but he’s a good veteran who can get off the ball and get into the backfield – he came up with 3.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss.
The more he does, the less pressure on Albright and Williams.
Key Game To The Ball State Cardinals Season
Western Michigan, Oct. 3
A whole lot will depend on how the schedule ends up shaping up, but the Cardinals are scheduled to open up the MAC slate at home against Western Michigan, one of the favorites to win the division.
With a trip to face a loaded Buffalo team to follow, Ball State can make a massive early statement by beating what should be two of the league’s top teams. Beat the Broncos – after losing five of the last six in the series – this is the MAC West team to beat.
– Ball State Cardinals Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Ball State Fun Stats
– Sacks: Opponents 29 for 167 yards – Ball State 15 for 95 yards
– Punt Return Average: Opponents 15.1 yards – Ball State 8 yards
– Rushing TDs: Opponents 34 – Ball State 27