Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pre-Season Preview: Ball State Cardinals

62009 Record: 2-10 (2-6 in MAC)
2009 Bowl: N/A
Final 2009 AP Ranking: Not Ranked
Head Coach: Stan Parrish (2-11 at Ball State, 59-52-3 All-Time)
Non-Conference Schedule: Southeast Missouri State (9/2), Liberty (9/11), at Purdue (9/18), at Iowa (9/25)

2009 Offensive Statistics
Scoring: 19.2 points per game (11th in MAC, 108th in Nation)
Rushing Yards/Game: 159 (6th in MAC)
Passing Yards/Game: 134 (last in MAC, 115th in Nation)
Total Yards/Game: 293 (12th in MAC, 114th in Nation) 

2009 Defensive Statistics
Scoring: 28.2 points per game (9th in MAC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 152 (6th in MAC)
Passing Yards/Game: 234 (11th in MAC)
Total Yards/Game: 386 (9th in MAC)

2009 Misc Stats
Turnover Margin: -0.58 per game (10th in MAC)
Penalties: 42 yards per game (2nd in MAC)

Returning Starters
Offense: 11
Defense: 8
Kicker/Punter: 2

Phil Steele All-MAC Pre-Season 
DE Robert Eddins (First Team)
RB MiQuale Lewis (Second Team)
K Ian McGarvey (Second Team)
TE Madaris Grant (Third Team)
OG Michael Switzer (Third Team)
LB Davyd Jones (Third Team)
P Scott Kovanda (Third Team)
WR Briggs Orsbon (Fourth Team)
LB Travis Freeman (Fourth Team)
CB/KR Charlie Todd (Fourth Team)
SS Sean Baker (Fourth Team)
KR Eric Williams (Fourth Team)

Top Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: QB Kelly Page, Soph (109 of 207 for 1019 yds, 7 TD, 9 INT, 127 ypg)
Rushing: RB MiQuale Lewis, Sr (181 carries for 871 yds, 5 TD, 4.8 ypc, 72 ypg)
Receiving: WR Briggs Orsbon, Jr (51 rec, 461 yds, 1 TD, 4.3 rec/game)
Tackles: LB Davyd Jones, Sr (100)
Sacks: DE Robert Eddins, Sr (7)
Interceptions: SS Sean Baker, Jr (4)

2010 Pre-Season Rankings
Lindy's: Not Ranked
Mark Schlabach: Not Ranked
Rivals: Not Ranked
Scout: Not Ranked
Sporting News: Not Ranked in Top 100
Sports Illustrated: Not Ranked
Athlon Sports: #108

2010 Pre-Season MAC West Prediction:
Athlon Sports: #5
Phil Steele: #3 (tied with Toledo)

Ball State had a rough time in 2009 as they started the season by losing 7 consecutive games including a loss to New Hampshire. In their first 11 games their only win came against winless Eastern Michigan by 2 points. They finished the season with a 22-17 win over Western Michigan. Ball State struggled offensively last year ranking near the bottom of the Nation in scoring, passing yardage and total yardage. The good news is that they are tied for having the most returning starters in the MAC and if the cards fall right they could be a contender in the MAC West. We reached out to Over The Pylon to learn more about Ball State football.

What are the major strengths and biggest weaknesses of the team?

The strengths of BSU is the experience gained last year. Coming into 09 we were a team littered with freshmen with no game experience. Now, we're mostly sophomores with game experience and return 18 starters. Last year was the perfect storm of suckitude but this year should be considerably different. The strengths are the running game if the o line can open up holes. The o line was dreadful last year and I would be lying if I said that wasn't a concern again now.

Looking at the schedule who will be the first major test and why?

Depends on what you mean by test. The first true toss up is at Central Michigan on Oct. 2. The first two we play are FCS schools. The next two are road Big 10 contests. CMU gives us a chance to prove our worth against a MAC foe. Win and we could rise up to contend for the MAC West. A loss and it could be another long year.

What team on the schedule do you fear the most?

Buffalo if for no other reason than the amount of crow I will have to eat should we lose. I have talked so much crap about the Bulls since the epic failure against them in the MAC title game a couple years back that it's put up or shut up time. Selfish? Sure.

Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?

Briggs Orsbon, WR. Quale Lewis, Sean Baker, Robert Eddins, and Kelly Page are all talented but they get attention. Orsbon, for the most part, doesn't. Throw it in his general direction and he's coming down with it, same with Dan Ifft.

Who is the best offensive player on the team?

Quale Lewis, hands down, assuming he has any sort of hole to run through. As the o-line goes, so goes Quale, and last year had nothing to do with a sudden drop in his talent level.

Who is the most impactful defensive player on the team?

Robert Eddins. Eddins has come into his own since the switch to the 4-3, and if he creates pressure up front it takes pressure off our linebackers and allows the secondary to make plays. That's got to happen this year or the defense will once again fail to meet expectations.

What player(s) needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach it's full capability?

Offensive line and linebackers... all of them. If they both exceed what are expected then it's going to be a good year. Failure by either and we'll struggle to reach .500

Who is the top offensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

QB Keith Wenning who many feel will compete for the starting job. Personally, I think that never happens but we shall see. With 18 starters back, there isn't a lot of holes to fill anywhere.

Who is the top defensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

SS Artis Chambers, transfer from Michigan.

Gut feeling on the teams final record at the end of the regular season and what makes this a successful season in your eyes?

Call me optimistic but I will go with 8-4, which should be enough to go Bowling. Huge turnaround from 2-10. Successful to me will be not getting blown out be either Iowa or Purdue and winning the close games, which we struggled with last season.

Visit Over The Pylon for all of your Ball State needs (as well as Kentucky). You can also follow them on twitter @overthepylon.

Next Up: Toledo Rockets

2010 Previews
Big 12- Kansas State Wildcats, Missouri Tigers, Texas Tech Red Raiders
Big East- Cincinnati Bearcats, Pittsburgh Panthers, West Virginia Mountaineers
Big Ten- Michigan WolverinesMinnesota Golden Gophers, Northwestern Wildcats, Purdue Boilermakers
Conference USA- Houston CougarsTulane Green Wave, UTEP Miners
MAC- Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, Temple Owls
Mountain West- Utah Utes
Pac-10- Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, Washington Huskies
Sun Belt- Troy Trojans
WAC- New Mexico State Aggies


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