FACTS & STATS: Site: Michie Stadium (38,000) — West Point, New York.
Television: CBSSN. Home Record: BSU 1-1, Army 1-0. Away Record: BSU 0-2, Army
0-3. Neutral Record: BSU 0-0, Army 0-0. Conference Record: BSU 0-1, Army 0-0.
Series Record: Ball State leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Army Black Knights will face a well-rested Ball State squad at
Michie Stadium this Saturday, as they attempt to regroup following a 49-43
loss to Yale.
Last weekend was the low point of the early season for Army, which has lost
three straight games following a 47-39 victory over Buffalo in the season
opener. While setbacks against Stanford (35-0) and Wake Forest (24-21) might
have been expected, letting up 49 points to an FCS foe was clearly not.
Ball State also is suffering from a three-game losing streak, but it was idle
last weekend, giving the team time to process setbacks against Iowa (17-13),
Indiana State (27-20), also an FCS program, and Toledo (34-23).
These teams have met in each of the last three seasons, Ball State winning
each time, with finals of 40-14 (2014), 30-22 (2013) and 48-21 (2012). Those
victories allowed the Cardinals to overtake Army in the all-time series, 3-2.
It has been tough sledding for the Ball State offense this season, as the
Cardinals are ninth in the Mid-American Conference in total offense (361.3
ypg), while scoring a meager 21.5 points per game.
They kept the status quo against Toledo, finishing with a 470-351 deficit in
total yards and a 34-23 differential on the scoreboard.
One bright spot in the contest was the play of running back Jahwan Edwards,
who notched his second 100-yard rushing game of the campaign with 125 yards on
21 carries. Edwards has had at least 75 yards in all four games, and has a
total of 390 yards as well as two touchdowns. Horactio Banks (234 yards) also
gets work in the running game.
Ke’Vonn Mabon had an impressive game against Toledo too, logging 78 yards and
a touchdown on three catches. He leads the team in receptions (25), yards
(292) and touchdown grabs (two). Chris Shillings (14 receptions, 164 yards)
and Jordan Williams (10 receptions, 82 yards, TD) are the only other players
with double-digit receptions.
Ozzie Mann is tasked with getting the ball to Mabon and company. He has been
doing so less frequently than head coach Pete Lembo might like, however,
completing just 54.8 percent of his passes for 774 yards and five touchdowns.
On the bright side, he has been intercepted only once.
The deficiencies of the offense have really cost the Cardinals because they
have been just fine on defense. In fact, they rank second in the MAC in both
total defense (378.3 ypg) and scoring defense (22 ppg). That type of
production has come despite a measly three sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
Ben Ingle (40 tackles) has nearly twice as many tackles as any other player on
Army is a solid offensive team when it comes to picking up yardage (407.2 ypg)
but it is not a very balanced squad. The Black Knights still employ a triple-
option offense that leaves little room for passing. They are currently ninth
in the country in rushing offense (316.5 ypg).
Larry Dixon (338 yards, four TDs) leads the team in rushing yards and carries
(62), while he is tied with quarterback Angel Santiago for rushing touchdowns.
However, Dixon was limited to only 12 yards on seven attempts against Yale.
Quarterbacks A.J. Schurr and Santiago accounted for most of the rushing
production in the loss, with Schurr picking up 135 yards and a touchdown on 15
carries. Santiago tallied 88 yards and two touchdowns on eight attempts. He
now has 271 total rushing yards.
Terry Baggett (147 yards, TD) and Raymond Maples (106 yards, TD) provide
further depth in the backfield.
On the rare occasions that Santiago, who is the primary starter, throws the
ball, he is at least accurate, completing 16-of-20 attempts for 240 yards.
Army’s plodding offense has not been able to keep up with opponents, who have
piled up the yards (483 ypg) and points (36.8 ppg) against the Black Knights
However, unlike Ball State, the Black Knights have been better at creating
negative plays, with Jeremy Timpf (43 tackles, 5.0 TFL, two INTs) leading the
way for a team with 22 tackles for loss.
It is difficult to feel confident in Army following such a puzzling loss last
weekend. However, the Black Knights played well enough on offense to imagine
they can handle whatever Ball State might be able to produce.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Army 23, Ball State 20