Football I conducted a brief interview with my counterpart at Ball State. The blogger's name is Phil Friend.
Here is our conversation...
MR: What do you think of the seven-point spread?
PF: For the love of God, Ball State better at least cover it. I think if we want people to take Ball State seriously, the Cards should win by about two touchdowns if not more. But this game has "trap game" written all over it, Plus, the Bird is coming to Akron. As long as the Cards play like they should, I like us to cover this easily.
MR: What is Ball State's perception of Akron?
PF: You know, I was thinking about this earlier, and I don't really know if anyone has any sort of feelings at all. I think it'd be different if this was Miami or one of Michigans, but the schools aren't necessarily close to each other. From a football standpoint, I know that the Cardinals beat both Northern Illinois and Akron, yet we saw you guys win the MAC. I think we'd like to be Akron's position this year. And the kangaroo, of course. Can't forget that.
MR: Tell me about Ball State's defense?
PF: Well, I was happy with the fact we only gave up 348 yards rushing against Navy. So take that for what it's worth. If we're going to do anything (bowl game, MAC title, BCS game) the defense needs to be about 100 percent better than they've been the past two years. As in, not letting
Garrett Wolfe run for 363 yards, or
Ray Rice getting 280-plus in the bowl game last year. And allowing 400 yard passing games to
Curtis Painter and the North Dakota State QB who's name escapes me, I think it's
Steve Walker, is unacceptable. But with so many returning starters, I'd like to think this unit will be much improved. It has to be, it can't do much worse.
MR: What is your perception of Ball State's running game?
MiQuale Lewis went down with an injury last year, that ruined our offense. We became very one-dimensional and basically ran out of running backs. A walk-on true freshman —
Ray Winkler — got a bulk of the carries and actually scored the game winner against Northern Illinois last year.
Nate Davis and
Dante Love are going to get their yards, the Cards have to have a running attack to keep teams honest. And Lewis averaged more than 10 yards a carry in high school so there's some precedent.
MR: If you had to sum up your fans in three words, what would they be?
PF: CHIRP! CHIRP! CHIRP!
Other news and notes...
Here is the injury report: DOUBTFUL (
Hassan Hazime), OUT (
Cowles Stewart and
The Plain Dealer's
Elton Alexander tallied how much money MAC schools have spent on their football facilities the last five years. The numbers are staggering in Akron's favor.
The ABJ published a wire
story about Ball State receiver
previewed the Akron/Ball State game.
Nick from VanDelaySports.com
predicts a shootout between the Zips and Cardinals. Final score: 31-28 Ball State.