There is another MACtion triple-header on the books on Wednesday night. If you don’t like MAC football, then it’s going to be another miserable night for sports. Besides college football, there is a bit of horse racing you can find out there, but the MAC gets the spotlight again. I’m not entirely sure anybody cares about these games besides sports bettors. However, that’s the case with a lot of college football in smaller conferences. No one really cares about Eastern Michigan and Ball State, though they do care about their money.
The Eastern Michigan Eagles are on the road at Ball State University in Indiana tonight. Eastern Michigan used to be a dumpster fire of a football program, so at least they’ve been heading in the right direction recently. The Eagles appeared in their first bowl game in 2016 since 1987. The win in the California Bowl in 1987 is their only win in a bowl game. I think it’s going to be a matter of time before Eastern Michigan wins their next. They’ve reached a bowl three times since 2016 after a really dark period in Ypsilanti.
Eastern Michigan has developed into a competitive MAC team. They have some work to do if they want to be a champion in the conference, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Eagles in the MAC Championship within the next ten years. They’ve made massive leaps from where they were ten years ago. Eastern were at the bottom of the MAC back then, and just about as bad as Bowling Green has been this season. Maybe worse which is a scary thought. They came close to upsetting Pittsburgh in the Quick Lane Bowl in 2019, but came 4 points short in a 34-30 loss.
The Eagles are coming off a 27-23 loss against Kent State. Bad loss? Not at all. Kent State is a pretty good team this year and should be a contender to win the conference, believe it or not, they’ve come a long way from three years ago. That was a decent effort by Eastern Michigan, and they’ll need to be good on the road at Ball State to go back home with a win. I’m high on Ball State as well, but the defense that held them back last season, was on full display again versus Miami (Ohio) in the season opener. They must be better to be considered a MAC contender. Head below for our free Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State pick for November 11, 2020.
Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Ball State Cardinals NCAAF Betting Odds:
Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State Prediction:
Ball State can score on any defense in the MAC. They return Drew Plitt at quarterback and he’s poised for a big senior season. Plitt broke out for 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 64.3% completions as a junior. He also gained 171 yards on the ground with 5 rushing touchdowns. The real star of this offense might be Caleb Huntley, though. Therein lies the problem for defenses. Either sell out for Huntley, who is going to get his, or play more of a balanced defense. Selling out for Huntley isn’t ideal because Plitt is good enough with his arm.
Huntley romped for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry in the opener versus Miami. The senior gained 1,275 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry last year. He isn’t much of a pass-catcher out of the backfield, though, so if he wants to develop into an NFL running back, that aspect of his game will need to be worked on. Nevertheless, Huntley’s ability is more than enough for Ball State.
Huntley paired with a reliable quarterback like Plitt is a serious concern for opposing defenses. Ball State scored 35 points and 463 yards per game last season. I can see them doing about the same this year. The Cardinals scored 31 points last week against Miami, but their defense was unable to do their end of the bargain. Miami, who looked lost offensively last night against Buffalo, scored 38 points against a paper thin Cardinals’ defense. This is the same problem that Ball State had last year.
The Cardinals conceded 424.7 yards and 31.4 points per game. I was on Ball State last week and thought we were going to see something from their defense versus Miami. That wasn’t the case. AJ Mayer passed for 3 touchdowns and 312 yards with no interceptions. Last night against Buffalo, Mayer passed for only 116 yards with a touchdown and interception. Mayer completed 7 passes on 25 attempts. What’s that say about the Ball State defense?
Preston Hutchinson made some mistakes against Kent State, as he threw for 241 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Kent State presented a much bigger challenge than Ball State will on Thursday night. The Cardinals have leaks in their secondary, and Hutchinson should be able to have a fine enough game to keep Ball State within reach. I can see a high-scoring contest in Indiana on Thursday night at Ball State University.