Schuemann Stadium, Muncie, IND.
American Sports Network and ESPN3
Coach Matt Campbell’s Toledo team is 3-0 and drawing national attention as the only thing to stop the Rockets so far is Mother Nature (The opening game was cancelled due to severe weather and was not rescheduled).
Ball State, meanwhile, may be “sneaky good.” Other MAC West heavies are getting headlines, but BSU has the personnel to possibly contend itself. At the least, it could certainly spoil somebody’s day. With the game in Muncie and Toledo star running back Kareem Hunt questionable, the Rockets will need to maintain focus and emphasize execution lest their non-conference success lose its luster in a hurry.
► The Cardinals actually already have a MAC win to their credit. They posted a 28-17 victory at Eastern Michigan during Week Three action. That followed a season opening 48-36 win over VMI and 56-23 loss at No. 16 Texas A&M.
Ball State fell to another ranked team last week as No. 17 Northwestern edged the Cardinals 24-19. BSU owned a 10-7 halftime lead before the Wildcats scored 17 straight point in the third period. Ball State fought back with a third quarter TD and scored the only points of the final period with a Morgan Hagee 36-yard field at 4:34. Northwestern managed to seal the outcome with a 10-play drive that left BSU time for just one play from its own nine.
Northwestern held a 546-359 advantage in total offense, with 290 of the Wildcats yards coming on the ground.
Freshman quarterback Riley Neal completed 14 of 35 (40.0%) for 178 yards with two touchdowns. He also led Ball State rushing with 74 yards on 16 carries. Darian Green owned 12 rushes for 68 yards and James Gilbert added five carries for 42 yards as the Cardinals totaled 181 yards via the ground game.
Senior Jordan Williams had a big day with against Northwestern with eight receptions, 133 yards and two touchdowns. Hagee was 2 of 4 on field goals, with the two misses (both beyond 40) being his first of the year.
Kareem Hunt did't play last week, but then the Rockets didn't need him. The junior is nursing a hamstring injury. While he did return to practice Wednesday, UT would likely prefer not using him this weekend.
Terry Swanson (17 carries, 71 yards, 2 TDs) and Damion Jones-Moore (18 carries, 64 yards, 1 TD) did most of the ground work last week as UT stepped off 169 yards rushing.
Quarterback Phillip Ely comleted 25 of 52 for 308 yards and one interception in the passing game. Nine receivers caught passes. Three of them registered five catches apiece: Cody Thompason (112 yards), Alonzo Russell (60 yards) and Corey Hones (40 yards).
Freshman kicker Jameson Vest converted all three field goal attempts against Arkansas State, including a season/career best 44-yarder. Best is now 7 of 9 on the year.
-- Toledo is just outside the AP Top 25 poll. The Rockets' 68 points is significantly back of No. 25 Florida (140), but it puts UT ahead of such programs as Oregon (64), Arizona (48), Boise State (38) and others.
-- Ball State ranks sixth among MAC teams in scoring (29.5 ppg).Toledo is seventh (27.7 ppg).
-- Toledo tops the MAC in scoring defense (14.0 ppg). Ball State is eighth (33.2 ppg).
-- Toledo tops the MAC in turnover margin (1.67 per game. Ball State is third (1.00 per game).
-- Toledo is fourth in pass defense efficiency, while Ball State is 11th.