The Matchup: Ball State (1-1) vs Wyoming (2-0)
When: Saturday, September 18th @ 2:00pm
Where: Laramie, Wyoming, War Memorial Stadium
TV: Stadium (online)
Radio: Cowboy Sports Network
Spread: Wyoming -7 O/U: 53.5 via OddsShark.com
|Against the Spread
It’s back-to-back weeks of some MACTION for Wyoming football. Can the team and you the fan handle it? Let’s preview this game and find out!
Ball State enters this game allowing 32.5 points per game after playing Western Illinois and Penn State. How does Wyoming match up versus the Ball State defense?
I’m going to say this is hard to tell. Montana State brought a very good defense to Laramie and the Cowboys obviously didn’t score much. Last weekend the Cowboys exploded for 50 points against a suspect Northern Illinois defense. Ball State should provide a more accurate measuring stick for where the Cowboy offense is, despite the fact Penn State having very little trouble with them last week. If Wyoming can continue to be effective through the air and take some of the heat off of Xazavian Valladay we could see 40+ points on the board for the Pokes. Last season Ball State ranked 85th in total defense, in 2019 it was 91st. The Cardinals are not exactly known for their defensive prowess, but they play in the MAC, soooooo…
Coming into this game what are you most worries about, offense, defense or special teams?
After giving up 43 last week to Northern Illinois I’m going to say that I’m slightly concerned about the defense. Playing MAC teams is always tricky because they’re mostly so good on offense across the board. I’d hate to see the Pokes get into another shootout at the last minute. It’d be nice to see the defense step up and hold this Cardinal offense under 20 points. That would be encouraging. Ball State’s offense the last two seasons has been a top 25 offense, to shut down a high caliber team like that would be a real feather in the cap for the Pokes defense. I don’t worry about Chad Muma though, in case anyone’s wondering. He’s still pretty good at the linebacker spot.
If Boise is not a State is Ball also not a State?
Ball is also not a state. This university, the former Eastern Indiana Normal University was purchased by the Ball brothers in 1917 for $35,000! Can you imagine paying the price of a Kia Sorrento and boom, you own a college? That’s amazing! Also, in 2020 Ball State started an e-sports program. Buddies, if you want to see a mad man raving and ranting ask me about calling e-sports a sport. David Letterman calls himself a Ball State alumni and even has a building named after him! And Muncie Indiana is home to Guardian Brewery, if that’s your thing. All of that being said, Indiana is a state, Idaho is a state (barely), Ball and Boise are not states.
Wyoming 38 – Ball State 33.
Two games into the season Wyoming hasn’t put a complete game together. Will it happen this week?
The opening game versus Montana State saw as a whole the Wyoming offense struggled and the defense excelled. While the next week versus NIU saw the defense struggled and the offense excelled. What will we see on Saturday afternoon in Laramie? Your guess is as good as mine. In a perfect world, a complete game is what we all want to see, the offense puts up 30 plus points and the defense gets back to their old ways and holds Ball State to low double digits. Looking at the Ball State defense, I think at home the offense will be cooking. Ball State has allowed over 30 points in their two games this season and as Brad wrote above their defense has ranked in the bottom quarter in scoring defense that past few seasons. The question is, will the Wyoming defense be able to slow down the Cardinal offense enough to make this weekend nail bitting free, unlike the previous two weekends? Looking at the Ball State offense they have averaged right at 34 points per game the last two seasons and scored 34 points last year in their bowl game against the Mountain West champs of San Jose State. This game will be a pretty big barometer of where the Wyoming defense is at as we approach conference play. Based on these numbers and their experienced QB (more on him below) I’m going to lean against seeing that complete performance from the Pokes.
There’s a lot of talk about Ball State QB Drew Plitt, is he the real deal?
He seems to be the real deal when you look at his statistics and the praise Craig Bohl has heaped on him this week. In the last two season’s Plitt has completed over 64% of his passes with 41 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. Looking at his highlights, he seems to be a polished passer who is accurate and delivers the ball on time. He isn’t pure a runner but is mobile enough to avoid sacks and make a 6-7 yard run when needed to move the chains. As a senior, he doesn’t seem to be high on anyone’s NFL draft rankings for next year’s draft but this guy is a solid college quarterback and will be one of the better signal-callers Wyoming will face this season.
Do you have a gambling tip for this game?
I have brought back my college football tip of the week. I went 12-2 during the 2019 season and so far this season I’m 1-1. be sure to check out the @WyoNationBlog Twitter account on Saturday morning for this week’s (hopefully winning) pick. I don’t like to bet on Wyoming games because my mind is biased one way or another when looking at the numbers. This week’s game is on a razor’s edge and I think Vegas has the line and the over/under at the perfect spot to make this a tough game to bet. Based on what we’ve seen from the Pokes and the Cardinals so far this season as you will see in my prediction below I would say your best bet is Ball State +7.
It will be another close game but the Cowboy offense has had 2 weeks of practice now of scoring when they need to in order to secure a victory. I see that happening again this Saturday as the defense continues to find its footing.
Wyoming 31 – Ball State 27