Bulls poised to crunch Cardinals Saturday
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 14, 2011 @ 11:16am
You might be a little confused by Ball State. You might be asking yourself, “Is there really a tiny town in Indiana called ‘Ball?’” Well, you’ll be comforted to know that there’s no such town; Ball State is housed in Muncie, Indiana and named after two glass-making brothers who moved a few states southwest from Buffalo, NY. Reason #1 to root against Ball State: its originators deserted Buffalo!
Enough peculiar banter—the University at Buffalo Bulls football team slides into Muncie Saturday for the first MAC tilt of 2011. Fresh off a 35-7 thumping of FCS school Stony Brook, the Bulls face a much more formidable opponent—a rematch of the 2008 MAC Championship game where Naaman Roosevelt went ballistic (in a good way!).
The Cardinals roll in with an even 1-1 record; they were just thoroughly spanked by #22 South Florida 37-7 after opening the season with a win over Big Ten doormat Indiana. Perhaps fumbling the opening kickoff and having it returned for a score wasn’t the ideal start for the Cardinals against the Bulls. Ball State was out-gained in yardage 386 to 76 in the first half.
Ball State was dealt a blow in June when likely starting tailback Eric Williams left the program for personal reasons; true freshman Jahwan Edwards, all 232 pounds of him, and junior Barrington Scott have split the carries, with Edwards having more success (5.4 YPC). Pete Lempo, entering his third game at BSU after coaching Lehigh and Elon previously, orchestrates an attack that rarely huddles and preys on disorganized defenses.
Offensively, the Bulls shouldn’t have a problem with the smallish Cardinals’ defense, which struggles to defend the pass (USF’s B.J. Daniels carved them up to the tune of 359 yards and a score). The red-and-white MAC foe starts an outside linebacker that’s under 200 pounds! Is this real life?
Giant Buffalo receivers Marcus Rivers and Alex Neutz should explode this week after being held in check against Stony Brook. Will Devon Hughes continue his rise up the depth chart? It wouldn’t shock us to see him catch a TD for the second straight week.
Unfortunately, the 7 p.m. game will not be televised locally or nationally. And we are not pleased about this!
Prediction: Bulls, 30-20