Junior wide receiver KeVonn Mabon prepares for a kick return during the game against Central Michigan on Oct. 24 at Scheumann Stadium. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
Ball State offensive production increases with help of 2 receivers
Offensive production was no issue during Ball State's 20-10 win over the University of Massachusetts Oct. 31, especially from the wide receiving core.
Between the six players who caught a ball, the offense finished with 275 receiving yards on 20 catches with a touchdown.
“I don't think we were cautious at all,” head coach Pete Lembo said. “I think we were very aggressive with our plays.”
Receiving Statistics against UMass
KeVonn Mabon - 6 receptions, 150 yards
Jordan Williams - 6 receptions, 60 yards, 1 touchdown
Corey Lacanaria - 3 receptions, 36 yards
James Gilbert - 2 receptions, 16 yards
Darian Green - 2 receptions, 0 yards
Sam Brunner - 1 reception, 13 yards
Contributions came from the usual suspects, such as senior wide receiver Jordan Williams and sophomore running back Darian Green. But two other faces have been stepping up in a big way the past couple of weeks, much to quarterback Riley Neal's delight.
While Williams still leads the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, sophomore Corey Lacanaria and senior KeVonn Mabon are closing the gap.
Mabon leads all other receivers in yardage during the UMass victory. He finished with 150 yards on six receptions, including a reception late in the fourth quarter that went for 53 yards to seal the win.
Despite the impressive yards after the catch, Mabon has benefited from Lembo's aggression in his play calling. As any coach would be, Lembo is happy to see the improvement from his receiving core.
“It's good to see guys improve, whether he's in the last third of his senior year or a young guy,” Lembo said.
Mabon is currently second statistically on the list of Cardinal receivers with 536 yards on 49 receptions. Behind him is Lacanaria, who has 355 yards on 42 receptions.
Lacanaria finished the game against the Minutemen with 36 yards on three receptions. The week before against Central Michigan, Lacanaria was the leading receiver with 10 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown.
While there is increasing production from other receivers, Williams still leads in all statical categories. On Oct. 31, he recorded six receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown, and in the week before, he finished with 70 yards on six receptions as well.
“That's what you need out of your veteran receivers,” Lembo said. “We felt like the matchups on the outside were favorable coming into this game.”
For most of the season, it was the Williams show on the outside, but the past couple weeks have proven that the Cardinals have more weapons than opposing defenses give them credit for.
Mabon is now just nine receptions behind Williams' 58, while Lacanaria is seven receptions behind Mabon.
Neal and Lembo will need the two receivers to continue their upward trend with a tough matchup against the Western Michigan University Broncos, who are allowing just 239 passing yards per game this season. To go with the tough matchup, the Cardinals will be playing away during a short week since the road match is on a Thursday.