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The Ball State Cardinals and Eastern Michigan Eagles take the field in Ypsilanti on Saturday in what stands as a pick 'em game for this MAC clash.
The line setters have declared that they have no favoritism for this contest despite the 3 - 0 home record for the Eagles this season.
After their 1 - 3 start to the season, the Cardinals rebounded with a big win over Northern Illinois last weekend, 27 - 20, to bring themselves one step closer to getting back to .500 for the year. Playing their third straight road game, Ball State will certainly need another big outing from QB Drew Pitt to escape with a win this weekend.
The Eagles will be looking to rebound from their lopsided defeat to Central Michigan last weekend, 42 - 16, which now brings them back to 3 - 2.
Not that every game isn't a must-win scenario with only 12 games on the schedule, this is certainly already a big MAC contest for these two, knowing that a loss could make life difficult with half the season gone.
Cards playing 3rd straight game away from homeIt is hard enough to find wins at home, but three straight road games including the first two conference games away from home is no easy task either.
Ball State got off to a 1 - 3 start with their lone win coming over FCS Fordham going into last weekend's game with Northern Illinois. As +4.5 underdogs, the Cards came away with a huge 27 - 20 road win over the Huskies last weekend.
The win came at the right time because we can obviously state that a 1 - 4 start would have made this game an entirely different situation. So, now the goal is to build on something and the Cardinals offense looks pretty good overall. There is nothing overwhelming about QB Drew Pitt's 1407 passing yards, and his 11 / 5 TD to INT ratio isn't all that impressive either. He is also not one who is fleet of foot, as he has been sacked 13 times and really doesn't add anything to the ground game.
Ball State's @1DukeHuntley piled up a season-high 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 win at Northern Illinois on Saturday. The 157 yards rushing were only two yards shy of his career-high. #MACtion pic.twitter.com/ewcJC7BYsz— #MACtion (@MACSports) October 7, 2019
Junior RB Caleb Huntley is up to 440 yards on the ground after his performance last weekend against the Huskies. Huntley amassed 157 on 35 carries while finding the end zone twice as well. He will need to be a big factor again this weekend should the Cards want to stay balanced and not put the entire offense on Pitt's shoulders. At the same token, the game plan better account for the knowledge that Eastern Michigan will likely stack the box to shut down the run and make Pitt beat them with his arm.
Luckily for the Cards, they have a handful of receivers that can aid the cause to make Pitt's role useful should he have to heave the rock around.
Riley Miller, Antwan Davis, and Justin Hall see most of the balls out of Pitt's hand, as the three have combined to bring in 67 grabs for 851 yards and 6 scores. Miller leads the pack with 321 yards as all three average at least 14 YPC.
The Cardinals offense ranks 34th with their passing game putting up 282.4 YPG, although their passing defense allows 267.8 YPG and is ranked at 109th in the country.
Eagles needing big bounce back weekend after humiliating lossThe Eagles landed at 3 - 2 after that wild loss to Central Michigan last weekend as 6-point road favorites. The goal now is to bounce back from starting conference play 0 - 1 after a strong 3 - 1 start to the season.
The boxscore doesn't even start to tell the story of how the Eagles running game got shut down entirely as evenly as the stats look on paper. There was no major discrepancy in time of possession and the Eagles only had the one turnover from Mike Glass interception.
Saturday = 9⃣9⃣th @EasternMichU Homecoming 🥳— Eastern Michigan Football (@EMUFB) October 8, 2019
We can't wait to 👀 you for our 2 p.m. 🏈 game against Ball State❗️
Take a look at the official game notes below⤵️
📰https://t.co/2c85SX3Eso#EMUEagles🦅| #ETOUGH⛓️ pic.twitter.com/4Y0wXTQssM
Eastern Michigan ended the game with 22 first downs, but was forced off the field on 2 of 12 3rd down conversion attempts and was o for 4 on 4th down as well.
The defense allowed 587 yards to the Chippewas who looked terrible in their loss to Western Michigan the weekend before, with penalties and mistakes costing them that game.
The ground game is non-existant for the Eagles this season, as evident by QB Mike Glass leading the team in rushing with only 112 yards. Senior RB Shaq Vann has only accumulated 111 yards from 33 carries, and his long is only 13 yards without 1 trip to the end zone.
We might just see this team abandon the run all together this weekend, because of two reasons. First off, they can't run the ball unless Glass takes off, and secondly, they won't need to run it because Ball State's pass defense is a mess themselves.
Expect points to come this weekend in Ypsilanti.
- Eagles are 10-25 ATS in their last 35 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Eagles are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Eagles are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Over is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings.
- Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Eastern Michigan.
- Road team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Ball State ends up winning this game somehow, but boy, will the points be coming through the air this weekend.
This might just end up being a 38 - 35 road win for the Cardinals because they have balance and have some momentum to build from their win last weekend against the Huskies on the road. Ball State will leave the homecoming crowd disappointed.
Playing three straight road games is not easy to do, and winning those games is even tougher to accomplish but the Cards escape with the W.
Ball State ML is the play
Prediction: Ball St ML
Full-Game Total Pick
That 38 - 35 prediction points me to the total to go over the number, and I hope these passing games just go out and produce those points. We know Eastern Michigan has zero run game, and that should be no problem considering the Ball State passing defensive stats.
Expect points and a close game with the road team finding the win, and a shootout will take place regardless of the weather or time of year.
Both teams need wins and cannot afford to sit back and let doubt creep in, so each should come out throwing and having success doing so.
Over 57.5 is the play.
Prediction: Over 57.5