Army (1-0) at Ball State (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 7, 1:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Scheumann Stadium (22,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com, CBS Sports Network. Home Record: Army 1-0, BSU 1-0. Away Record: Army 0-0, BSU 0-0. Neutral Record: Army 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: Army 0-0, BSU 0-0. Series Record: Series tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Army Black Knights play their first road game of the 2013 season as they visit the Mid-American Conference's Ball State Cardinals at Scheumann Stadium.
Army began its campaign with a 28-12 win over Morgan State at Michie Stadium. Coach Rich Ellerson's team had lost its opener in consecutive seasons heading into the contest. The Black Knights are coming off a 2-10 campaign that ended with three straight losses. Ellerson has had just one winning season during his four year stint as Army's coach.
The Cardinals defeated Illinois State, 51-28, in their home opener in week one. In 2012, Pete Lembo guided Ball State to the Beef'O'Brady Bowl where its six-game winning streak ended with a loss to UCF. Lembo is 16-10 as Ball State's head coach including a 10-2 mark in games decided by a touchdown or less.
This will be the fifth meeting in history between these schools, with each side having two wins each. Army won the first tilt in 1999 and the second in 2009. Ball State defeated the Black Knights, 48-21, in 2011 and also, 30-22, in last season's encounter.
Army will have a new offensive leader for this year's matchup as junior quarterback Angel Santiago is set to make his third career start. Santiago completed 4-of-8 attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown, while racking up 120 yards and three scores on the ground against Morgan State last week.
Junior tailback Larry Dixon picked up 107 yards to surpass the century mark for the fifth time in his career. Army, which led the FBS with 369.8 rushing yards per game in 2012, finished the game with 295 yards on 42 attempts.
Freshman Xavier Moss had a great debut, leading the receiving corps with 75 yards on two catches. Chevaughn Lawrence made the other two receptions, including an 18-yard touchdown toss from Santiago in the early goings of the second quarter.
Army was one of the weakest defensive squads in the FBS last season. The Black Knights surrendered an average of 35.3 points and 427.3 yards per contest and failed to hold any of their opponents under 21 points. They performed well defensively last week, holding Morgan State to 301 yards of total offense and registering three sacks.
Junior Geoffrey Bacon and sophomore Alex Meier set new career-highs in tackles, recording 16 and 11, respectively. Kyle Maxwell was responsible for two of the three sacks.
Ball State trailed Illinois State, 21-9, late in the second quarter before it scored 42 unanswered points to take control. The Cardinals had the second best offense in the MAC last season with their average of 457.2 yards per game. Although they had back seven offensive starters including quarterback Keith Wenning and running back Jahwan Edwards, they were held to 420 yards by ISU.
The Cardinals were still able to light up the scoreboard. Wenning went 24- of-40 for 340 yards, accounting for five total touchdowns. The senior signal caller now has seven 300-yard passing games in his career.
Willie Snead was unstoppable as he made nine receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Williams also had a big impact with six catches for 64 yards and a score. Snead entered the year on the Biletnikoff Award watch list after his breakout sophomore campaign that yielded 89 receptions for a MAC- leading total of 1,148 yards and nine touchdowns.
Ball State's rushing attack was limited by ISU. Edwards and Horactio Banks both rushed across the goal line once and combined for 92 yards on 24 carries. Edwards was unstoppable throughout the 2012 campaign as he tallied 1,410 yards and 14 touchdowns on 232 carries.
The Cardinals limited ISU's attack to 356 yards and forced two turnovers in their opener. They were especially strong against the run as they gave up just 74 yards on 36 carries. Nathan Ollie recorded three tackles for loss. Ben Ingle also stayed busy, registering nine total stops, two for loss, a sack and an interception.
When these teams met last year, they combined for 565 rushing yards. Ball State's ability to move the ball through the air played a huge factor in that contest which led to its eight-point win. Wenning might need more help from Edwards and Banks to survive this one, but they had no trouble against the Black Knights a season ago.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ball State 34, Army 24
09/04 10:38:12 ET