2018 College Football Team Previews: Ball State Cardinals

 

Ball State Cardinals
Location: Muncie, IN
Coach: Mike Neu (6-18 overall & at BSU) 3rd Season
Stadium: Scheumann Stadium (Capacity: 22,500)

CSJ Projections:
12th: MAC (6th in West Division)
4th: Indiana
128th: FBS
193rd: Division I

2017 In A Sentence: The Cardinals started off the season well with a 2-1 record after three games, but then the team lost its last nine games, including all eight within MAC play to finish 2-10 overall.

Biggest Shoes to Fill: DE Anthony Winbush ended his career tied for the Ball State career record for sacks (25). His 11.5 sacks this season ranked fourth nationally a year ago. He tallied at least one sack in seven games in 2017, including a personal-high 3.0 sacks in the season opener at Illinois. Winbush also led the nation in forced fumbles (5) and ranks 13th nationally in tackles for loss (16.5).

Courtesy from Ball State Athletics

Key Player: RB James Gilbert played in the first three games with two starts at running back last year in what would have been his junior campaign.  However, he suffered a hand injury on Sept. 16 against Tennessee Tech and did not play the rest of the season in which he received a medical redshirt and will replay his junior season.  He currently ranks ninth on Ball State’s all-time rushing list (2,147 yards).  He was a difference maker that the Cardinals need and was evidenced in the three games in played in last year.  He scored a touchdown in all three of those games, including twice in the win over UAB on Sept. 9

Fearless Prediction: With just six starters lost on offense and defense, this team has the experience it needs to do better than a last place finish again.  The question is if it will translate into victories–it has not historically been the case for Ball State.

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