Scheumann Stadium – Muncie, IND
Two teams coming off a pair of loses will meet Tuesday night, each trying to bounce back into the win column heading down the home stretch.
Eastern Michigan, one of the big “turnaround” stories of the MAC and beyond (third best nationally) remains one short of that elusive win that would make the Eagles bowl eligible.
Ball State needs two wins in its final three to reach the necessary six wins. The Cardinals finish on the road against a desperate Toledo team and recently red-hot Miami.
Here’s more on the two teams . . .
► Ball State has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with EMU. LB Sean Wiggins helped the Cardinals win last year’s meeting, recording a sack and two late interceptions in a 28-17 decision.
► BSU’s most recent outing was a 52-20 loss to now No. 17/18 Western Michigan. As usual, the Broncos, the Broncos offense featured a variety of weapons and rolled up 553 yards of total offense. Three Ball State turnovers (to none for WMU) also facilitated the visitors.
► Sophomore RB James Gilbert has rushed for at least 100 yards in five consecutive games. As of Nov. 2, he ranked sixth nationally in rushing yards per game (126.9 ypg). Gilbert would tie the program record with another 100-yard game against Eastern Michigan. He enters this week’s action as the top rusher in the MAC.
► Ball State has scored at least 20 points in every game this year.
► Junior QB Jack Milas completed 20 of 38 passes with one TD and two interceptions. KeVonn Mabon led Ball State receivers with five catches for 58 yards. Damon Hazelton Jr. and Corey Lacanaria each caught four balls for a combined 75 yards and one score.
Senior safety Corey Hall and senior LB Aaron Taylor both had busy night, registering 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. Mabon needs 10 more receptions to move into second place on the program’s all-time list.
► Fourteen Cardinals have been involved in a sack this year. Junior DE Anthony Winbush leads the team with six sacks.
► Nine of the projected 22 starters for Ball State will be playing their final home game.
► The Cardinals rank sixth nationally in fewest penalty yards per game (33.11).
EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES (5-4, 2-3 MAC)
► EMU has not played in a bowl game since 1987, when it won the California Bowl, 30-27, match-up with San Jose State. Only New Mexico State (1960) has been away from bowl action longer (among FBS teams).
► Redshirt freshman Dieuly Aritstidle had a big game against Miami, registering a career-high 193 yards and a score. That was the most receiving yards for an EMU player since Oct. 9, 2004. Coming into the game, he had just one reception for 20 yards.
► Sergio Bailey II tops EMU’s receiving corps with 43 catches for 614 yards and three TDs. Antoine Porter and Nigel Kelly lead in receiving TDs with four apiece.
► Junior QB Brogan Roback completed 23 of 39 passes against Miami, good for 328 yards with two TDs and one interception. It was his third straight game with over 300 passing yards.
► Eastern netted just 33 yards rushing against Miami. The Eagles are averaging 141.1 ypg on the year. Ian Ericksen leads the team in rushing. He has 461 yards on 120 carries for the campaign.
► Kicker Paul Fricano has converted all 31 PATs this year and hit 12 of 15 field goal attempts (2nd, MAC) with a long of 46.
► Senior Pat O’Connor has 5.5 sacks this season and 17 for his career. That puts him just a half sack behind the all-time program leader.
► The last EMU win over Ball State was a 41-38 overtime verdict on Oct. 16, 2010 at Scheumann Stadium. QB Alex Gillett his tight end Ben Thayer on a nine-yard aerial for the game-winner.