Updated Sat, Oct 15, 2011 12:00 am
Keys To The Game: Ball State (3-3, 1-1) vs Ohio (4-2, 1-1)
For Pete's (Germano) Sake--Stay Healthy
The Ohio defense is injured. Neal Huynh-out; Xavier Hughes-out; Carl Jones-out; Omar Leftwich-questionable. Those are five defensive starters that will probably miss Saturday's game against the Cardinals.
The blows have severley hampered the defensive line-a unit that has lost two key studs along the front four. Ohio's Defensive Line Coach Pete Germano was feeling the squeeze from the lack of depth.
The Bobcats may play freshman Antwan Crutcher, who was orignially scheduled to redshirt this year, to ease some of the pain from the injuries to the D-line. Preventing injuries isn't something that a team can prepare to do in practice during the week but come on, can this team take any more injuries? If the defense was a ship, it would already be taking on water.
Young Guns Must Fire On All Cylinders
WITH all of those already mentioned injuries, there will be some inexperienced guys stepping into big roles. Josh Kristoff and Thad Ingol, both redshirt freshmen, filled in when guys like Omar Leftwich and Xavier Hughes left during the Rutgers, Kent State, and Buffalo games, and will most likely play major minutes against Ball State. Kristoff and Ingol looked young on a couple plays against the Bulls last week, but have taken more first-team snaps in practice this week then everbefore. H
For the 'Cats sake, they hope the younger players took some notes in practice this week.
Run, Run... and Run
Ball State is 1-and-1 in the MAC. The Cardinals beat the Buffalo team that Ohio lost to last week, but Ball State took a 42-0 beating from Temple last week.
Temple may have one of the best backfields in the conference and it proved why against the Cardinals. The Owls ran up and down the field on Ball State, the final rushing totals from the 42-point drubbing--62 carries for 350 yards.
Branden Oliver of Buffalo also had a good day against the Cardinals. He put up 122 yards on 27 carries in Ball State's 28-25 win over the Bulls.
Win the Turnover Battle
BSU's first-year quarterback Keith Wenning had been playing well above his Sophomore status. Through four games he hadn't thrown an interception, but recently Wenning has been vulnerable. He threw three interceptions against Oklahoma--no crime there, top-to-bottom, the Sooners are one of the best teams in the nation. But last week, Wenning had two more hiccups in the loss to Temple, five intercetions in two games... maybe he's not as as mature as once thought. If Wenning is starting to show his age, or lack there of, that's good news for the Ohio defense--the ball hocking group has the second most interceptions in the nation with 12.