2007 Ball State Preview

Posted Jul 17, 2007

Preview 2007 Ball State Cardinals

Ball State Cardinals

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 Ball State Offense Preview | 2007 Ball State Defense Preview   
2007 Ball State Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Ball State Preview 

It could be argued that there’s never a more fun time to be a fan of a team than when it’s just on the verge of being really, really good. Ball State is on the verge of being really, really good.  

That’s what having a hot young quarterback can do for a program that hasn’t been known for being explosive, and that’s what closing out a season with three wins in four games, with the one-loss being a down-to-the-wire shocker at Michigan, can do. 

Head coach: Brady Hoke
5th year: 15-31
Returning Lettermen: 37
Lettermen Lost: 21
Ten Best Cardinal Players
1. QB Nate Davis, Soph.
2. P Chris Miller, Soph.
3. TE Darius Hill, Jr.
4. WR Dante Love, Jr.
5. LB Wendell Brown, Sr.
6. LB/DE Cortlan Booker, Sr.
7. CB Trey Lewis, Jr.
8. LB Bryant Haines, Jr.
9. RB MiQuale Lewis, Soph.
10. OT Andre Ramsey, Jr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

Aug. 30

Miami Univ.

Sept. 8

at Eastern Mich

Sept. 15

at Navy

Sept. 22

at Nebraska

Sept. 29


Oct. 6

Central Michigan

Oct. 13

Western Kentucky

Oct. 20

at Western Mich

Oct. 27

at Illinois

Nov. 3

at Indiana

Nov. 13


Nov. 24

at Northern Illinois

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2006 Record: 5-7

Preview 2006 predicted wins

8/31 Eastern Mich W 38-20
9/9 Indiana L 24-23
9/16 at Purdue L 38-28
9/23 N Dakota St L 29-24
9/30 Northern Illinois L 40-28
10/7 at Buffalo W 55-25
10/14 at Central Mich L 18-7
10/21 Western Mich L 41-27
10/28 at Miami Univ. W 20-16
11/4 at Michigan L 34-26
11/14 at Toledo W 20-17
11/24 Kent State W 30-6

Joey Lynch was supposed to be the MAC’s new star passer going into last year, but freshman Nate Davis quickly took over and gave the normally grounded Cardinals the MAC’s best passing attack averaging 259 yards per game. Now the team has its offense in place, is well past the suspensions and problems of a few years ago, and should be in the hunt for the MAC West title and the program’s first winning season since 1996.

However, BSU was supposed to be the hot team going into last year after closing out 2005 with a flurry, and then started out the season with a resounding thud losing six of the first eight games with the low point coming in a 29-24 loss to D-IAA North Dakota State. Credit head coach Brady Hoke and his staff for getting the team’s head back on track in time to save the year, and maybe his job, while providing hope for the future.

To actually live up to the potential, the defense has to be night-and-day better after finishing last in the MAC in both total defense and pass D. The front seven will be active in the backfield, and the secondary has enough overall experience to turn out fine. But the season will end up being all about Davis.

Because of him, tight end Darius Hill, and emerging receiver Dante Love, Ball State will be the team no one wants to deal with. For a program desperate for something positive, being the MAC’s most dangerous offensive team isn’t a bad thing to be.

What to watch for on offense: More balance. Hoke isn’t a high-octane offense sort of a coach and would like to power it a bit. He has the backs to run it a bit. Of course the offense will be about Davis throwing the ball all over the place, but MiQuale Lewis and Corey McGee are decent backs that can mix the attack up a little bit and take the pressure off the passing game.

What to watch for on defense: Decent pressure and a desperate attempt to slow down someone’s passing game. It’s not like the run defense was anything to get excited about, but the pass defense was at another level of awful getting torched short, deep, and everywhere in between. The front seven should be able to get into the backfield, but whether or not anyone can hit the quarterback on a consistent basis is another question.   

The team will be far better if … the line can pass protect. The offensive front five didn’t give up many sacks two years ago because the offense didn’t throw a whole bunch. More passing equaled more sacks allowed but, obviously, the more time Davis can get, the more effective he’ll be. Several inconsistent sophomores have to turn into productive junior all across the front.

The Schedule: The Cardinals will know where they stand in MAC play right off the bat getting Miami at home before going to Eastern Michigan. Navy and Nebraska close out a three game road run, but there’s a chance to make a lot of noise, especially in the West, with three straight home games including a must-win showdown with Central Michigan. Unfortunately there are four road trips in the final five games including dates at Western Michigan and Northern Illinois which could ruin division title hopes.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore QB Nate Davis. It wasn't like Joey Lynch was bad last year, but Davis turned into the spark-plug who gave the program an identity and some excitement for the future. He was brilliant as a true freshman, and now he knows what he's doing.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Wendell Brown. While he won't be as flashy as some of the other linebackers, he'll be a solid plugger in the inside. He's not big, but he's as tough as they come and is great at helping out everyone else.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore RB MiQuale Lewis. It'll be too tempting to throw, throw, and throw some more with all the weapons in the passing game. Lewis is a small, quick back who won't be a workhorse, but might be tough to stop when he gets a few holes to run throw. He has to provide some semblance of balance to the offense.

The season will be a success if ... the Cardinals win seven games. After going 5-7 last season, and with the offense they have coming back, making a two-game improvement is possible. It’ll take some big road wins to get to the seven-win mark, but if the defense is just a bit better, BSU could pull off some key victories to become bowl eligible.

Key game: Oct. 6 vs. Central Michigan. With West Division foes Toledo, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan still to deal with over the second half of the season, the Cardinals can’t afford to lose to the defending MAC champions. Blow this key home game, and it’s also-ran status again.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Penalties: Opponents 96 for 808 yards – Ball State 60 for 548 yards
- Ball State second quarter scoring: 109 – Ball State third quarter scoring: 57
- Net punting: Opponents 34.3 yards per kick – Ball State 42 yards per kick


Related Stories
2007 Ball State Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 17, 2007
2007 Ball State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 17, 2007
2007 Ball State Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 17, 2007

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