The Ball State Cardinals travel to Virginia to play the Cavaliers on Saturday.
Ball State improved to 4-1 on the season after beating Toledo at home 31-24 on Saturday. Ball State beat Illinois State, Army, lost to North Texas on the road, and beat Eastern Michigan before knocking off Toledo this past week. The Cardinals offense produced 463 total yards with 335 coming thru the air in the win over Toledo. QB Wenning completed 27 of 28 passes for 335 yards with one interception. WR Snead caught 7 balls for 131 yards, while WR Smith caught 11 balls for 99 yards for Ball State. RB Edwards and RB Banks combined for 139 yards on 30 carries for the Cardinals. The Ball State defense did not play great, but did do a good job of getting off the field on third down and forcing 2 turnovers. This is a Ball State team that ranks 27th in points scored and 56th in points against. The Cardinals will now head out on the road for the third time this year and face a Virginia team that is hungry for a win.
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Virginia fell to 2-2 on the year after losing to Pittsburgh on the road 14-3 on Saturday. Virginia beat BYU, lost to Oregon, and defeated VMI at home before losing to the Panthers on Saturday. The Cavaliers offense produced only 188 yards of offense against the Panthers. QB Watford was awful; completing 15 of 37 passes for 123 yards. WR Jennings and WR Parks combined for only 59 yards receiving on 8 catches. The rushing game was non-existent as RB Parks rushed 16 times for only 34 yards. The Cavaliers defense played well, holding Pittsburgh to only 199 yards of total offense, with only 8 yards rushing. Virginia turned the ball over 2 times, while forcing Pittsburgh into 3 turnovers. The biggest question for Virginia going into this week is whether or not the offense can find a way to score some points. The Cavaliers should be able to limit Ball State offensively, but it won’t matter unless the offense can get things going early and often.
Ball State is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games in October and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games. Virginia is 4-13-1 ATS in their last 17 games overall.
This game will come down to which team can limit their mistakes and take care of the football. I think Ball State has improved tremendously over the past couple years, while Virginia is still trying to find a true identity. This game should be close and I’ll side with the road dog to keep it within striking distance or possibly come away with the win.