Ball State Cardinals College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Ball State Cardinals Biggest Key: Offense
The pass protection has to be better. The veteran O line wasn’t bad at keeping most defenses out of the backfield, and it had a few nice moments for the ground game, but there were a whole slew of issues keeping QB Drew Plitt from getting hit.
Pass protection hasn’t been a plus for the program for a while – 2015 was the last time the Cardinal O line gave up fewer than 20 sacks in a season – and there has to be a tweak.
Last year Ball State allowed 27 sacks – a whopping 3.5 per game – with Miami University coming up with six in the opening win, and everyone else coming up with two or more.
Ball State Cardinals Biggest Key: Defense
The pass defense has to stop getting bombed on. It’s hard to argue too much with a 7-1 team that won a MAC Championship and a bowl game, but the Cardinals were roasted in game after game, allowing 294 yards per game getting dinked and dunked on over and over again.
It’s how this team rolls, though – it gives up lots of yards, but it also comes up with lots of interceptions. That’s playing with fire, though.
There were ten picks, but the D allowed 250 yards or more in seven of the eight games and allowed passing games to hit 65%.
Ball State Cardinals Key Player To A Successful Season
RB Tye Evans, Jr. & Will Jones, Sr.
Thanks to Caleb Huntley, Ball State was able to roll with the running game early on averaging more than four yards per carry in each of the first three games. The Cardinals ran for 304 yards against Eastern Michigan and 201 against Northern Illinois.
Huntley was out for the rest of the way, and Ball State failed to run for more than 185 yards or average more than four yards per carry in any of the last five games.
Evans was effective with a 101-yard day against Toledo, and Jones averaged four yards per pop with two over 70 yards in two of the last three games. Now these two – and the rest of the backs – have to do even more.
Ball State Cardinals Key Game To The 2021 Season
Toledo, Sept. 25
There are tone-setters, and there’s the conference season opener that might determine the West title.
Ball State was able to slip past the Rockets 27-24 for its second straight win in the series, but there were five straight losses before that.
It’s a home game for the Cardinals, and up next in conference play is a road game at Western Michigan to kick off a run of three away dates in the next four. It’s not win-or-else, but … it’s win-or-else.
2020 Ball State Cardinals Fun Stats
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Ball State 78 – Opponents 38
– Fumbles: Opponents 14 (lost 7) – Ball State 6 (from 3)
– Punt Return Average: Opponents 3.9 – Ball State -0.4