Ball State and Kent State have met
22 times in a series that dates back to the 1977 season. Ball State
owns a 17-5 all-time series advantage and has won 12 of
the last 13 contests overall and the Cardinals are 8-3 against
Kent State at home. The
teams last met in 2003 when Ball State posted a 34-17 win at
Kent State's Dix Stadium. The teams have not played in Muncie since
campaign when the Golden Flashes tallied a 31-18 victory.
In 10 games sophomore Julian Edelman
has completed 115 of 207 passes (55.6%) for 1,678 yards
and nine touchdowns to 10 interceptions
(167.8/game). He's equally as dangerous on the ground as
he is Kent State's second leading rusher with 563 yards
Freshman Nate Davis has started
seven games for the Cardinals and he's been nothing short
of spectacular. He has completed 134 of 216 passes (62%)
for 1,707 yards and 17 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
Redshirt freshman Eugene Jarvis
averages over 80 yards per game. He has carried 174 times
for 809 yards but has scored just three touchdowns. Tony Howard will spell Jarvis. The sophomore has carried
78 times for 262 yards and two scores. Both backs have combined
for 17 receptions for 139 yards.
Kent State has rushed for
1,817 yards. Ball State has accounted for just 916 yards
on the ground. The Cardinals average less than 90 yards per
game on the ground. If the Cardinals run, it will likely
be fifth-year senior Larry Bostick carrying the
football. He's carried 115 times for 422 yards and one touchdown
this season. Bostic is dangerous catching the ball out of
the backfield. He has 40 catches for 307 yards.
Ball State features three
receivers with 37 catches or more. Kent State has one, Najah Pruden. Pruden, a senior, has 37 catches for 792 yards
and six touchdowns. Like last year, Pruden continues to be
the only big-play threat the Flashes possess. Tight end Tom Sitko is second on the team with 15 receptions.
Sophomore Dante Love
has quickly become one of the MAC's most dangerous pass catchers.
This season he has hauled in 47 passes for 660 yards and
four scores. Running back Larry Bostic is second on the team
with 40 receptions. Tight end Darius Hill has 37
catches for 625 yards and 10 touchdowns, most on the team.
Kent State's defense has been
a strength this season. The Golden Flashes allow just 19.2
points and 288.2 yards per game (139.2 on the ground/149.0
passing). The secondary will be tested by a high-powered
Cardinals offense that features a standout wide receiver
and a running back/tight end that see plenty of balls thrown
their way. Kent State's secondary has combined for 12 interceptions
and they'll need to force some turnovers against a young
Ball State quarterback.
Ball State allows 27.5 points
and nearly 500 yards per game. The Cardinals give up 184.0
rushing yards and 264.8 passing yards per game. Fortunately,
Ball State has an offense that allows them to remain competitive
in each game. The Cardinals will be forced to shut down the
running game of quarterback Julian Edelman and force him
to put the ball in the air.
Kent State has hit on just
2 of 10 field goal attempts and 26 of 29 extra points. Add
the punting woes against Ohio and the Golden Flashes have
been looking for answers on special teams. Kent State has
a net punt average of just 30.0 yards. Shawn Bayes
has shown some explosivesness on kick returns, but he has
yet to return one for a score.
Ball State has a net punt
average of 41.5 yards, an important statistic when playing
against a team with an inconsistent offense. The game against
Kent State could be determined by field position, and the
Cardinals punting game has been terrific so far this season.
Terry Moss averages over 20 yards per kick return.
Brian Jackson has hit on 14 of 16 field goals with
a long of 52 yards.
Kent State hasn't been
the same since a bye week interrupted its five-game winning streak
that ended when Ohio University defeated the Golden Flashes 17-7
at Dix Stadium in Kent. Since that defeat the Golden Flashes lost
two of its next three games and now they are in a battle to keep
alive their hopes of appearing in a post-season bowl game.
Behind freshman quarterback Nate Davis, the Cardinals have been
struggling to maintain consistency, though the offense hasn't scored
less than 20 points since Oct. 14.
Ball State's defense has allowed plenty of yards on the ground
and through the air. That's good news for the Golden Flashes
since the Kent State offense hasn't found its rhythm. Kent State
will likely look to establish a strong rushing game and limit
the amount of third and longs Edelman will face.
The Kent State defense will be relied upon to pressure Davis and
stop the three-headed receiving monster of Love, Bostic and Hill.
Special teams certainly favors the Cardinals. In a defensive struggle
field position will play a key role and the ability to convert
field goals might determine this game.
Kent State has the possibilty of a bowl game at stake and it's
senior day for the Cardinals, so both teams have plenty of motivation
to play hard for four quarters.
Two weeks ago, Ball State traveled to Michigan as 34-point underdogs
but gave the Wolverines all they could handle in a 34-28 loss to
the team ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings.
Kent State's defense will make this a close game, but the Cardinals
have an impressive passing game, special teams in their favor and
it's the final game for the Ball State seniors; not a good recipe
for a Kent State win.