Central Michigan Chippewas at Ball State Cardinals
Scheumann Stadium – Muncie, Indiana
Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Ball State -21 1/2
Current Line: Ball State -20 1/2
Opening Total: 57 1/2
Current Total: 55 1/2
Opening Money Line: Ball State -1600 / Central Michigan +930
Current Money line: Ball State -1400 / Central Michigan +850
The 9-0 Northern Illinois Huskies get most of the attention in the MAC as they have a shot of going to a second straight BCS bowl game. However, the 8-1 Ball State Cardinals are a very good team as well. Both the Huskies and Cardinals are 5-0 in the MAC West Division. They meet next week at Northern Illinois. While the Huskies have a bye this week, Ball State hosts the 3-5 Central Michigan Chippewas who are 2-2 in conference Wednesday night. The series between Ball State and Central Michigan is tied at 22-22-1, but the Cardinals are 12-11-1 in Muncie against the Chippewas. Ball State has won four of the last five meetings against Central Michigan including 41-30 last year in Mount Pleasant.
Central Michigan is coached by Dan Enos. The Chippewas have a home win over New Hampshire 24-21, along with road wins at Miami (OH) 21-9 and Ohio 26-23. Central Michigan has home losses to Toledo 38-17, and three weeks ago against Northern Illinois 38-17, along with road losses at Michigan 59-9, UNLV 31-21 and North Carolina State 48-14. CMU hasn’t played since October 19, and won’t play again after this game until November 16. The Chippewas are 2-6 ATS and the total is 3-5 this season. Central Michigan was a 14.5 point underdog against Northern Illinois and the total was 59.
Central Michigan took a 14-7 first quarter lead against Northern Illinois, but the Huskies would score 17 straight points to take a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter. The Chippewas would kick a field goal early in the fourth to pull within 24-17, but NIU closed the game with two straight touchdowns to win 38-17. The Huskies had 592 total yards including 437 rushing yards. The Chippewas had 346 total yards including 271 passing yards. CMU had two turnovers and NIU had one.
Central Michigan is being outscored 33-19 this season. The Chippewas are #113 in scoring and #103 in points allowed out of 125 FBS teams. Central Michigan is averaging 340.8 yards per game including 215.8 passing and 125 rushing yards per game. The Chips are #80 in passing, #103 in rushing and #108 in total offense. On defense, CMU is allowing 435.6 yards per game including 225.6 passing and 210 rushing yards. The Chippewas are #93 in total defense and #107 against the rush. CMU is -3 in turnovers with 17 giveaways. The Chippewas average 37 penalty yards per game and opponents average 44. Central Michigan is 43/114 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 61/120. The Chippewas have forced 15 sacks and allowed 24 this season. CMU is 22/28 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns and opponents are 30/35 with 25 touchdowns. The Chips have allowed 2 punt returns for touchdowns and two defensive touchdowns.
CMU quarterback Cooper Rush has completed 54.1% of his passes for 1,575 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Back-up QB Cody Kater is questionable with a collarbone injury, but he has only taken 6 snaps this season. Running back Saylor Lavallii had 154 carries for 758 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore has 39 carries for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 2 touchdowns. Anthony Garland has 25 carries for 115 yards, along with 2 catches, Running back Zurlon Tipton is out for the season with a broken ankle. Receiver Titus Davis has 34 catches for 627 yards and 5 touchdowns. Andrew Flory has 21 catches for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns. Courtney Williams has 16 catches, 200 yards and a touchdown. Connor Odykirk has only 7 catches but two of them went for touchdowns. Little used receiver Jesse Kroll is out for the season.
Ball State is coached by Pete Lembo. The only loss for the Cardinals came at North Texas 34-27. Ball State has won six straight games since then. The Cardinals have home wins over Illinois State 51-28, Army 40-14, Toledo 31-24, and Kent State 27-24, along with road wins at Eastern Michigan 51-20, Virginia 48-27, Western Michigan 38-17, and two weeks ago at Akron 42-24. Ball State is 7-2 ATS and the total is 5-4 this season. The Cardinals were 10 point favorites at Akron and the total was 56.
Ball State took a 14-3 first quarter lead at Akron. The Cardinals expanded the lead to 28-10 by halftime. Each teams scored two touchdowns in the second half to make the final 42-24 Cardinals. Ball State had 434 total yards including 277 passing yards. Akron had 437 total yards including 226 rushing yards. The Zips had 8 penalties for 57 yards and 3 turnovers. Ball State had one turnover.
Ball State is outscoring teams 40-24 this season. The Cardinals are #17 in scoring nationally and #42 in points allowed. Ball State is averaging 467.6 yards per game including 325.7 passing and 141.9 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #30 in total offense and #16 in passing, but the rushing attack is #93 nationally. On defense, Ball State is allowing 422.4 yards per game including 215.6 passing and 206.9 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals are #84 in total defense, #33 against the pass and #104 against the rush. Ball State is +7 in turnovers with 23 takeaways. The Cardinals are averaging 31 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 76. Ball State is 57/124 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 68/164. The Cardinals have forced 16 sacks and allowed 11 this season. Ball State is 39/45 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns and opponents are 19/26 with 15 touchdowns. The Cardinals have allowed 2 defensive touchdowns.
Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning has completed 62.4% of his passes for 2,865 yards with 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 4 rushing touchdowns. Running back Jahwan Edwards has 127 carries for 659 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 5 catches. Horactio Banks has 84 carries for 452 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus a catch. Teddy Williamson has 39 carries for 116 yards, plus 2 catches. Receiver Willie Snead has 65 catches, for 1,057 yards with 10 touchdowns. Jordan Williams has 56 catches for 792 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jamil Smith has 44 catches for 592 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 31 rushing yards and a touchdown. Tight end Zane Fakes has 23 catches for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 35 rushing yards. Two little used receivers and two safeties are listed as questionable or out Wednesday.
Central Michigan is 3-0-1 ATS in Wednesday games, 8-2-1 after a bye week, 5-2 in MAC games, 2-5 on fieldturf, 5-13 in road games, 7-19 after a straight up loss, 4-11 after a double digit home loss, 9-25 overall, 3-9 after rushing for 100 yards or less, 8-24 after a straight up loss of 20 points or more, 6-21-1 after failing to cover, 6-21 after allowing 450 total yards or more, 3-12 against teams with winning records, 3-14 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, 1-9 against teams with winning home records, and 1-10 after allowing less than 170 passing yards. The road team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 in this series. The Chippewas are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 trips to Muncie.
Ball State is 4-0 ATS after a bye week, 8-2 in MAC games and against teams with losing records, 4-1 against teams with losing road records, 15-5 after a cover, 21-7 overall, 19-7 on fieldturf, 8-3 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 5-2 at home, and 37-18 after a straight up win. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five in this series. The Cardinals have covered in four of the last five against the Chippewas.
Ball State struggles on defense, especially against the run. It shouldn’t be an issue against Central Michigan’s anemic offense, but it will be a big problem when they face Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois next week. Still the Cardinals shouldn’t overlook the Chippewas as the Central Michigan upset a good Ohio team on the road. Central Michigan might be a little rusty after not having played for 3 weeks. I like Ball State to win handily at home in a high scoring game.