MACtion resumes Tuesday night, with two of the Mid-American Conference’s top teams in action. Bowling Green, which has already wrapped up the MAC East, visits Ball State. Meanwhile, another potential MAC championship game participant, Northern Illinois, is home against Ohio with the chance to punch its ticket to the title game with a win.
Here’s more on the matchups:
BOWLING GREEN AT BALL STATE
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 7:00 p.m. ET
Scheumann Stadium; Muncie, Ind.
BOWLING GREEN FALCONS
(8-3, 6-1 MAC)
>> The Falcons have wrapped up the MAC East and are headed to the MAC championship game Dec. 4 in Detroit. They would, however, like to make that trip after getting back on the winning path. Rival Toledo broke the Falcons seven-game winning streak Nov. 17 with a 44-28 decision.
>> The Falcons rank fourth nationally in scoring, averaging 43.8 ppg. They are second nationally in passing offense with an average of 401.4 ypg. On an individual level, senior QB Matt Johnson ranks second nationally in passing (384.5 ypg).
>> Sophomore Roger Lewis is third in the nation in receiving yards (122.0 ypg). Still, the Johnson has several more productive targets, including Gehrig Dieter and Ronnie Moore, not to mention people coming out of the backfield. Dieter set a new career high with 13 receptions (including a couple highlight reel grabs) for 103 yards and a career high three TDs in the loss to Toledo.
>> Travis Green is approaching a 1,000 yards season. He has 960 yards rushing on 166 attempts (5.7 ypc), with 10 TDs. Fred Coppet has also been very productive, averaging 5.6 ypc with 620 yards on 108 attempts. Green and Coppet have combined for 32 receptions for 277 yards to aid an already spectacular passing game.
>> Austin Valdez (111, 8.5 tfl) and Trent Green (101, 7.5 tfl) top the Falcons tackles list.
BALL STATE CARDINALS
(3-8, 2-5 MAC)
>> Despite their overall record, the Cardinals have been a tough out. A 23-21 loss to Central Michigan is a good example, but the Cardinals were also in several games where the opponent pulled away at the very end.
>> Ball State defeated Bowling Green last year for the first time since 1996.
>> Last week, Ball State fell at Ohio, 48-31. WR KeVonn Mabon totaled 312 all-purpose yards. That is the seventh highest by any FBS player this season.
>> The Cardinals line owns a combined 156 starts. Jacob Richard leads the group with 39 career starts. Richardson is one of 55 Division I football players nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, That goes to the most outstanding football player in American who began his career as a walk-on.
>> Freshman quarterback Riley Neal has completed 204 of 351 pass attempts (58.1%) for 2,122 yards and 15 TDs with three interceptions .
>> Senior WR Jordan Williams ranks 23rd nationally with 874 receiving yards. He has posted at least one touchdown catch in seven of the last nine games. On the year, Williams has 65 catches and eight TDs.
>> RB Darian Green has rushed 139 times for a total of 714 yards and five TDs.
>> Ball State is one of seven FBS teams without a fumble by running back this year.
>> Linebacker Ben Ingle owns 96 tackles, while DL Antony Winbush is the Cardinals sack leader (4.0). Linebacker Sean Wiggins has 90 tackles, 3.5 tfl, 2.0 sacks and 2 INT.
OHIO AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m. ET
Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, Ill,
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES
(8-3, 6-1 MAC)
>> NIU is 60-12 at home since 2003. Five of the 12 losses occurred in one season (2007). The Huskies have won 35 of their last 36 games at home, with Central Michigan registering the sole opponent victory, 34-17, in 2014.
>> Northern Illinois leads the series with Ohio, 11-9. Last year’s encounter between the two schools was a close one. With the score tied 13-all, quarterback Drew Hare found Chad Beebe on an 18-yard TD toss, and NIU claimed a 21-14 victory
>> NIU has won 17 straight regular season gmes aginst MAC East opponents.
>> A Huskies win would guarantee NIU a sixth consecutive MAC West title and berth in the MAC Championship game. Western Michigan could get the ticket if NIU lost and the Broncos defeat Toledo later this week.
>> With its win over Western Michigan last Wednesday, Northern Illinois has won 22 consecutive games in the month of November, dating back to November 27, 2009, when the Huskies lost to Central Michigan, 45-31.
>> Northern Illinois has fought through some key – some season-ending – injuries. The Huskies came from behind in a critical contest against Toledo despite losing quarterback Drrew Hare (Achilles) in the second quarter. Freshman Ryan Graham not only stepped in for the comeback victory at UT, he was at the helm for wins against Western Michigan and Buffalo.
>> The Huskie defense has been an integral part of NIU’s rebound after an early loss at Central Michigan. Linebacker Boomer Mays, who had a career high 15 tackle versus Western Michigan and 10 against Toledo, is a central figure in the “D” and made a huge stop in the Huskies goal line stand against WMU.
>> Running the football has been a key to the Northern Illinois offense this year, and Joel Bouagnon has been led those efforts. He is second in gthe country in rushing TDs (18) and ranks in the Top 20 nationally in rushing yards and scoring. The Huskies are averaging 266.4 yards rushing in conference action after averaging 155.2 ypg in non-conference play.
>> Kenny Galloday, who transferred in from North Dakota, has made a major impact on the 2015 Huskies. He has regisgtered 64 receptions for 1,035 yards thus far. His Huskie debut was nine catches for 213 yards against UNLV on Sept. 5. Galloday accounts for 11 of NIU’s 27 passing long plays (25 yards or more).
(7-4, 4-3 MAC)
>> The Bobcats have had been on a roller coaster this year. They won their first three and five of the first six. Only a 27-24 loss at Minnesota kept them from opening at 6-0. However, three midseason losses followed: Western Michigan, Buffalo and Bowling Green – all by lopsided scores. Ohio seemed to right the ship a couple weeks ago, shutting out Kent State , 27-0, and following that last week with a 48-31 victory over Ball State. Both sides of the ball have had their good days and bad days.
>> Running back AJ Ouelette turned in his first 100-plus yard rushing game against Ball State. The sophomore had 121 of Ohio’s big day with 607 total offense yards – the most in 18 years.
>> Ohio has registered 70 plays of 20 or more yards this year.
>> Like NIU, the Bobcats have a wealth of valuable experience. Ohio returned 20 starters – 10 on offense, seven on defense and three specialists. Also, like NIU, experience up front is a valuable asset. All five starters on the offensive line returned.
>> Since we don’t normally run a two-back offense, you’ve got to rely on your quarterback to be a runner also. We were healthy enough to be able to get that done these last three games. That’s huge in point production and yard production.” – Ohio head coach Frank Solich.
>> Senior quarterback Derrius Vick has completed 158 passes on 248 attempts, good for 1,809 yards with 10 TDs. Vick ranks sixth (MAC) in passing efficiency.
>> Junior QB JD Sprague was at the helm in last week’s big win. He completed 15 of 22 for 275 yards with three touchdowns. One was a 60-yard pass play to Jordan Reid.
>> Blair Brown leads Ohio in tackles (58). Kurt LaSeak (54), Quentin Poling (54) and Devin Jones (50) round out the top four.
>> Ohio ranks fifth in both scoring offense (27.5 ppg) and scoring defense (25.2 ppg). The ‘Cats are sixth against the run (164.6 ypg) , and will be facing the MAC’s top running team 226.0 ypg.
>> OU is tied for third in turnover margin (+6) (0.55 per game). Northern Illinois is fifth (+5) (0.45 per game).