Ball State at Kent State
Time: 10:30 AM CST, Saturday
Spread: BALL -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Ball State is 4-6 on the season, and it enters this week on a three-game skid that has seen the Cardinals lose to Ohio, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan.
The Cardinals is 3.5-point favorites in NCAA football odds over hosting Kent State this week, with the over/under set at 67.5 points. The game will air at 10:30 AM CST on local networks.
Ball State has been fairly typical for itself in 2019-20, racking up points and yards on the offensive end, only to surrender nearly as many or more itself defensively. While the Cardinals average 33.9 points per game on the heels of a top-30 rush offense and top-60 pass offense, it allows nearly as many (30.9) and over the three-game skid it has given up 34 points or more to all three (lackluster) opponents.
Even so, the Cardinals do have a lot going on offensively: Drew Plitt has had a tremendous season at QB with 2,393 yards, 20 touchdowns and a 64.1 percent passing clip. He has been sacked 24 times for a total loss of 133 yards, but he still sports a 146.7 passer rating. Plitt has been decently effective carrying the ball, too, with 113 yards on his 71 attempts, along with the second-most touchdown (tied at 4). Caleb Huntley and Walter Fletcher have done well as the No. 1 and No. 2 running backs.
Huntley should eclipse 1,000 yards this week with his 194 attempts at 4.9 yards-per-carry, and he leads the team with seven rushing touchdowns. Fletcher averages 5.7 yards-per-carry and has a 73-yard rush and four touchdowns to his credit. The No. 3 and No. 4 rushers are both wide receivers (Justin Hall and Malik Dunner) who have just 29 carries between them but total over 300 yards combined.
Hall has been dominant catching the ball, as he leads the team in receptions (52), yardage (608) and ranks No. 2 in touchdowns with five. Riley Miller has 37 catches for 548 yards and a team-best six touchdowns. Ball State has balanced its red zone attacks perfectly, with 20 rushing touchdowns and 20 receiving touchdowns.
The Cardinals also sport five receivers with 20 or more catches on the year, with running back Walter Fletcher rounding out the group along with the four WRs. Ryan Rimmler has struggled as a placekicker, hitting just 66 percent of his field goals, though three of the seven misses have come from beyond the 40, and one was beyond the 50. He is a perfect 37 of 37 on PATs.
Kent State has an identical record (4-6) to its opponent this week. It enters the week as losers of three of its last four, but it did notch a victory last week 30-27 over Buffalo. Kent State is 3-3 in MAC play so far. The Golden Flashes are allowing 30.9 points per game and averaging 28.2 itself, while having a passing offense nearly ranking outside the top-100 and a rushing attack that is middle-of-the-pack (165.6 yards, No. 61).
Dustin Crum has been fairly effective as Kent State’s QB. He has 1,767 yards on the season with a 67.5 percentage on his passes, to go along with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Crum also leads the team in rush attempts (117), rushing yardage (408) and is tied for the lead in rushing touchdowns with two. The top-two running backs have been fairly effective, but both Will Matthews and Jo-El Shaw average under five yards-per-carry and each has two touchdowns.
Kent State’s leading receivers, Isaiah McKoy and Kavious Price each have 40 and 39 catches, respectively, and the pair combines for nearly 1000 yards on the season. Xavier Williams has 105 yards on just five catches out of the backfield. Kent State has 19 receiving touchdowns and averages 11 yards-per-reception.
Kicker Matthew Trickett has been very solid. He has connected on 20 of 24 field goals, and he is a perfect 8 of 8 from 40 to 49 yards. He has also connected on all 26 of his PATs.