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October 20, 2012

Staff Predictions: CMU-Ball State

Corey Dull, Staff Writer

Saturday marks the 120th anniversary for Central Michigan University. The Chippewas will take the field looking to bounce back from their 31-13 defeat at the hands of the Navy Midshipmen. The Chippewa offense did not capitalize on big plays last Friday night, nor did they make many on the defensive end. At 2-4, CMU will need to play like their backs are against the wall in order to make a bowl bid. After throwing for just 139 yards on 11 completions, Ryan Radcliff was benched in the fourth quarter for sophomore Cody Kater. The CMU defense gave up 372 total yards of offense (238 rush/134 pass) last week to Navy. The triple-option attack was just too much for CMU. This week, the defense will be relied on more than ever to make plays as the Ball State offense ranks in the top 40 in the nation in both passing (No. 28) and rushing (No. 38). Ball State (4-3, 2-2 MAC) is coming off of a 30-24 overtime victory at home against Western Michigan. Sophomore running back Jahwan Edwards ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Central Michigan will need to force turnovers and execute on offense in order to win the ball game. With legendary coach Herb Deromedi as the Grand Marshall for the homecoming festivities, I think he fires up the Chippewas. I think this will be a stereotypical MAC football game with lots of offense and points.

Prediction: Central Michigan 35, Navy 31

Jeff Horodeczny, Staff Writer

The Chippewas are still looking for their first MAC win of the season as they host the Ball State Cardinals for Homecoming this weekend. Ball State enters this game with a 4-3 record and a couple of impressive wins over BCS teams in Indiana and South Florida. The Ball State offense is led by quarterback Keith Wenning, who already has over 2,000 yards passing this season. The Cardinals are ranked No. 28 in the country in passing yardage this season at 288 yards per game. Wenning's two main targets are Willie Snead and Jamill Smith at the receiver position. The CMU secondary will have keep an eye on both of them. Sneed is averaging 13.8 yards per catch. The CMU offense should be able to score as Ball State ranks No. 107 in points allowed, giving up an average of 35.4 points per game. The CMU offense needs to be more consistent and not fall off in the second half. CMU has only scored 17 points in the second half in their last two games. It is hard for me to imagine the CMU defense being able to stop Wenning and the Ball State offense after they gave up 134 passing yards and three passing touchdowns to freshmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds last week.

Prediction: Ball State 41, Central Michigan 35

Steve Livingston, Publisher

All the ingredients are there for a shootout of potentially epic proportions. Ball State has a very good offense and Central Michigan has an above average offense, but neither defense is that good. In fact, as bad as the Chippewas have been on defense at times this season, the Cardinals are probably worse. Both teams are going to run the ball well. Wenning and Radcliff should both have good days. Neither team is very good at putting pressure on the opposing quarterback, while both teams are good at protecting their own quarterback.

CMU and BSU could both put up over 500 yards of offense. There will be a small margin of error and each team will feel a need to score on most of their possessions. This is another game that will swing on special teams yardage, penalties and turnovers. Neither team has a good turnover margin so far this season. The Cardinals are No. 78 in the nation in average turnover margin per game and the Chippewas are No. 85. BSU has the advantage in special teams play and CMU has an advantage when it comes to penalties. I'll take CMU because they are at home in front of a potentially raucous Homecoming crowd.

Prediction: Central Michigan 41, Ball State 38

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