2008 Ball State Cardinals Football Preview
Ball State Cardinals - Mid-American Conference (West)
Ball State's 2007 Record: (7-6, 5-2)
2007 Bowl: International Bowl vs. Rutgers (L 30-52)
Ball State Coach: Brady Hoke (22-37 at Ball State, 22-37 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Stan Parrish
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Smith
Returning Leaders for Ball State:
Other Key Returnees: OT Robert Brewster, TE Madaris Grant, TE Darius Hill, S Alex Knipp, WR Louis Johnson, RB MiQuale Lewis, LB Kenny Meeks, P Chris Miller, OT Andre Ramsey
Key Losses: DE Cortlan Booker, C Dustin Brown, S Eddie Burk, LB Mike Dorulla, DT Jacob Jordan
If you are looking for a team to unseat Central Michigan from their Mid-American Conference throne, look no further than Ball State. The Cardinals return all 11 starters on offense and eight on defense from a team that was even better than their 7-6 record indicates. After an opening game lost against Miami ( Ohio), Ball State only lost to Nebraska, Central Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Rutgers in the International Bowl.
Ball State's 2008 Strengths:
This year they will look to get over the hump and beat some of those opponents they are not supposed to beat, although the schedule is much easier. With Nate Davis leading the way, the Cardinals can defeat just about anybody. The quarterback threw for 3,667 yards and 30 touchdowns as a sophomore. Even more impressive than those numbers were his mere six interceptions. With receiver Dante Love and tight end Darius Hill back for their senior seasons, the passing attack will once again be the best in the conference. Those two combined for 165 catches for 2,324 yards and 21 touchdowns. And there are even more targets like seniors Daniel Ifft and Louis Johnson. The running game was not bad, and having the diminutive MiQuale Lewis back from injury will help. Frank Edmonds and Chris Clancy also are returning after seeing significant playing time last season.
Ball State's 2008 Weaknesses:
The defense bent a lot, but did a good job of not breaking. However, the unit did give up 41 points to Nebraska, 58 to CMU and 52 to Rutgers. There are plenty of talented players to build around, but the unit as a whole can be better. Corners B.J. Hill and Trey Lewis are solid and linebacker Bryant Haines is a superb team leader and led the team in tackles in 2007. The line has end Brandon Crawford, who continually wreaks havoc in the opposing backfield, but the rest of the line could be the Achilles heal for Ball State. Sophomore nose tackle Rene Perry and junior tackle Drew Duffin need to be ready to step up and clog the middle of the line.
The Bottom Line for the Cardinals:
There is no reason for Ball State not to have a great year. The biggest road block will be having to travel to Mount Pleasant for the November showdown with Central Michigan. The Cardinals will be favored in just about every other game they play and every team will have a difficult time stopping the offense. Few will stop the offense, but Ball State is beatable in a shootout.
Ball State's 2007 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 148.92 (61 st in nation, 6 th in conference)
Passing Offense: 284.92 (22, 1)
Total Offense: 433.85 (31, 3)
Scoring Offense: 31.46 (39, 3)
Rushing Defense: 204.31 (106, 10)
Pass Defense: 228.00 (58, 9)
Total Defense: 432.31 (96, 10)
Scoring Defense: 28.31 (68, 4)
Turnover Margin: 1.31 (4, 1)
Sacks: 1.69 (84, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (58, 5)
By Joel Welser
Check out all of the 2008 NCAA football previews online through College Sports Fans.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.