Ball State at Western Michigan
Time: 7 PM CST, Tuesday
Spread: WEMI -6.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Ball State is 4-4 and currently in 1st place in the MAC-West. The Cardinals lost 21-34 to Ohio last week, but it had won three straight prior and it will travel to face Western Michigan at 7 PM (CST) Tuesday. The Western Michigan Broncos is 6.5-point favorites on its home field, with the over/under set at 63.5 points according to NCAA Football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Ball State has been a very good offensive team as it often is. The Cardinals score 33.0 points per game on the strength of a rush attack that ranks top-40 and a passing game that ranks just outside the top-50. The defense in typical fashion is less than stellar, but Ball State does limit its opponents to 28.6 per game, which gives it a +4.4 point differential.
The Cardinals have got tremendous production from its No. 1 and No. 2 running backs, Caleb Huntley and Walter Fletcher. The pair has combined for over 1,100 yards and eight of the Cardinals’ 15 rushing touchdowns. Huntley has a team-high 152 carries at 4.8 yards-per-carry for 723 yards and five TDs, while Fletcher is good for 387 yards on his 72 attempts with three TDs. Quarterback Drew Plitt has rushed 59 times for just 90 yards, but he also has three rushing TDs to his credit this season.
Plitt has fared much better as a passer. Throwing at nearly a 65 percent completion ratio, he has thrown for just under 2,000 yards with 17 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. He has been sacked 2.25 times per game for a total loss of 122 yards on the season, but his passer rating of 146.0 speaks for itself. His top four targets have all been true wide receivers, with Riley Miller and Justin Hall leading the quartet of top receivers. Miller has 457 yards on 32 catches with five TDs, and Hall has a team-beset 44 catches for 449 yards and three TDs. Ball State has scored 17 touchdowns via the pass.
Kicker Ryan Rimmler has been fine for PATs (28 of 28) but has struggled badly with his field goal kicking this season hitting just 10 of 17. With two misses from within-30 yards, Ball State will be on the recruiting trail for a kicker this summer undoubtedly. The costly misses have kept Ball State from more wins, given its four losses have all come by 11-points or less.
Western Michigan is 5-4 on the season, coming off a 49-10 pounding of Bowling Green State University. The Broncos have been a tremendous offensive team and about average defensively. Western Michigan scores 36 points per game, with a pass offense generating 256 yards per game and its rush offense averaging 205.8 per contest. The Broncos hold teams to just 25.8, giving it a double-digit +10.2 point differential. Despite that, it finds itself just one game above .500. Credit bad losses to Michigan State and Syracuse for that matter.
Western Michigan starting quarterback Jon Wassink has been very good, having thrown for 2,273 yards at a 60.4 percent clip. He has 16 TDs and just seven INTs, and he has done well, avoiding sacks with just over 1.5 per game.
Having LaVante Bellamy in the backfield certainly helps.
The No. 1 rusher and heart of the offense has 1,055 yards already on the season and averages 6.3 yards-per-carry on his 168 attempts. He has 17 touchdown rushes of the team’s total 26, and No. 2 rusher Sean Tyler has less than one-third the carries and about one-third the yardage, with 52 attempts for 333 yards.
The Broncos top-three receivers have all done work, beginning with No. 1 option, tight end Giovanni Ricci. He has caught a team-best 40 passes for 551 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns. Skyy Moore averages 13.5 yards per pass on his 32 catches with a pair of touchdowns. Keith Mixon Jr. and Dashon Bussell have both caught for over 300 yards on the year, as well. Western Michigan averages 13.2 yards-per-completion and has 17 passing touchdowns on the season.