There is a Mid-American Conference clash as the Bowling Green Falcons (8-3, 6-1) travel to face the Ball State Cardinals (3-8, 2-5) Tuesday night. Bowling Green has won six of the last seven meetings but it was Ball State picking up a 41-24 road win as a 10 point underdog on November 28, 2014 in the most recent matchup between the programs.
Ball State is coming off their second straight loss and seventh in the last eight games as they were knocked off 48-31 on the road by Ohio last Tuesday. Bowling Green had their seven game win streak come to an end with a 44-28 home defeat to Toledo last Tuesday. Kickoff from Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Indiana is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN3. Bowling Green is currently a 22.5 point favorite in this contest.
Bowling Green was down 17-0 after one quarter and never recovered; the Falcons drew no closer than nine points the rest of the way. The Falcons were outgained 406-368 and was dominated in time of possession by a 34:31 to 25:29 margin in the contest to negate their 28-20 advantage in first downs. Bowling Green was majorly hurt by the turnover bug as they committed five turnovers while forcing just one takeaway in the contest. Three Toledo touchdown drives started from the Bowling Green 39 yard line or better.
The Falcons are currently standing 2nd in the nation as they light up opposing defenses to the tune of 401.4 yards per game through the air; they average 163.7 yards (tied for 78th in the nation) a contest on the ground. Bowling Green is currently tied for 4th in the nation as they score 43.8 points per game. That kind of performance makes up for a poor defensive performance as Bowling Green stands 83rd in the nation in scoring defense at the moment by giving up 29.4 points per game. Matt Johnson, the senior, has been brilliant running the offense as he’s hit 68.3 percent of his throws (319 of 467) for 4,227 yards with 39 touchdowns against six interceptions plus 155 yards and three scores on the ground. Travis Greene is the main man on the ground with 166 carries for 939 yards and 10 scores; Fred Coppet chips in 108 carries for 603 yards plus three scores. Four players have reeled in at least 50 passes this season and six have caught at least 17 passes: Roger Lewis leads the team with 72 grabs for 1,342 yards and 14 scores while Ronnie Moore (59 receptions, 763 yards, 5 TD), Ryan Burbrink (50 grabs, 591 yards, 4 TD) and Gehrig Dieter (71 catches, 801 yards, 8 TD) all can move the sticks as well. Tyler Tate has hit 62 of 65 extra points but is only 8 of 15 on field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards.
Ball State continues to have issues defensively as they were outgunned by an Ohio team that Bowling Green beat by 38 earlier this season. The Cardinals trailed 14-3 after one quarter and 28-10 at the half; they got no closer the rest of the way as they were beaten soundly. Ball State was outgained 607-421, lost the first down battle 30-18 and the time of possession battle 37:44 to 22:16 in the game. The Cardinals also committed the lone turnover in the contest and couldn’t slow Ohio at all in the game.
The Cardinals are averaging 224.1 yards per game through the air (64th in the nation in passing offense) and an additional 157.3 yards a contest (tied for 83rd in the nation in rushing offense) on the ground. Ball State is putting up 24.3 points per game on the board, which leaves them tied for 100th in scoring offense, but they have leaks defensively as they give up 34.7 points a game, which is 105th in the nation as far as scoring defense goes. Riley Neal has sparked the offense as he has completed 204 of 351 passes for 2,122 yards with 15 touchdowns and three picks while adding 400 yards and two scores on the ground. He has supplanted Jack Milas (35 of 67, 343 yards, TD, 3 INT) at quarterback it seems. Darian Green is the leader on the ground with 139 carries for 714 yards and five scores while James Gilbert is the second back in the system with 136 carries for 542 yards and eight scores. Jordan Williams is the team’s leading receiver with 65 catches for 874 yards and eight touchdowns while KeVonn Mabon (63 grabs, 691 yards, 2 TD) and Corey Lacanaria (42 catches, 355 yards, 2 TD) are excellent options for Neal to look for in the passing game as well. Morgan Hagee has connected on 30 of 31 extra points and 15 of 20 field goals with a long of 45 yards.
Bowling Green is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven after an ATS loss, 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games, 5-1 ATS in their last six after a double digit home loss, 5-1 ATS in their last six at home and 5-1 ATS in their last six on fieldturf. Ball State is 3-9 ATS in their last 12 at home, 1-4 ATS in their last five against teams with a winning record, 1-5 ATS in their last six in November and 0-4 ATS in their last four after allowing at least 200 yards on the ground.
The Falcons were beaten by Toledo but they’ve won the East Division title in the MAC at this point and will play in the MAC title game. Ball State is playing out the string of a disappointing season and will likely not be much of a threat against Bowling Green’s prolific aerial assault. Give the points here as Bowling Green should win this one rather handily.