This weekend, football hits the road for its final nonconference game, while soccer, volleyball and field hockey each begin Mid-American Conference play. Cross country also hosts its first meet in nearly two years.

Football

The Cardinals will play Florida Atlantic for the first time in school history at 6 p.m. Sept. 24 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Weekend Schedule

Friday

2 p.m. Field hockey at Kent State

3 p.m. Ball State Cardinal Duals (Muncie Elks Country Club)

5 p.m. Soccer vs. Buffalo

7 p.m. Women's volleyball vs. Central Michigan

Saturday

6 p.m. Football at Florida Atlantic

7 p.m. Women's volleyball vs. Eastern Michigan

Sunday

1 p.m. Field hockey at Ohio

2 p.m. Soccer vs. Akron

Senior receiver KeVonn Mabon, who head coach Mike Neu said is ready to go after leaving the second half of last week's game with an injury, repeated Gilbert's sentiments about the Owls.

"This is big because it's an unknown opponent for us," Mabon said. "We've played IU in the past, so we knew what we were kind of getting into with that. We played Georgia State last year, so we knew what we were getting. EKU was a new opponent, but they were FCS. This is going to be an FBS team that we've never played before, and we're going to go out and show that we can beat people that we don't have much information on."

Read the full preview by football reporter Jake Fox

Follow @dn_sports on Twitter as Jake (@FoxJake_) live tweets the game from Boca Raton.

Soccer

Ball State soccer is about to start its bid to defend last season's regular season Mid-American Conference title.

After a 5-2-1 start to the season, the Cardinals open conference play against Buffalo (3-3-1) Sept. 23 at 5 p.m.

Head coach Craig Roberts said the MAC has improved in recent years.

“I think the MAC continues to increase in ability level," he said. "The coaches are highly competitive and very consistent, and I think it’s a testament to how the coaches have gone about things and what we do when we do play against these more wealthier [non-conference] schools we play against.”

Read the full preview by soccer reporter Jacob Lee

Jacob (@JPLeeBSU) will live tweet both the Sept. 23 game as well as the 2 p.m. rematch with Akron Sept. 25, who knocked the Cardinals in the MAC playoffs last season.

Volleyball

Ball State women's volleyball turns its attention to Mid-American Conference play this weekend after finishing its non-conference schedule with a 4-10 record.

The Cardinals take on Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 and Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. Sept. 24.

Head coach Kelli Miller would like to continue to see her team improve — the Cardinals have won three of their last four after a 0-9 start to the season.

"I think we’re starting to get some momentum and develop some chemistry with our players," she said. "We’re not necessarily just viewing it as wins and losses, but are trying to keep the same goals and process so we can keep getting better every day.”

Read the full preview by women's volleyball reporter Kara Biernat

Reporter Hendrix Magley (@TweetsOfHendrix) will live tweet Friday's game.

Field hockey

Winless in the MAC last season, the Cardinals carry more wins (4) into conference play than they had all of last season (2).

Ball State hits the road Sept. 23 to play at Kent State at 2 p.m.

Sunday, Ball State plays MAC opponent Ohio in a game that will not count towards the conference standings.

Cross Country

Ball State cross country hosts its first meet in nearly two years Sept. 23, but the biggest home-field advantage might be the proximity to the Health Center.

Distance coach Raynee DeGrio is hoping she has a healthy team to put on the starting line.

“We’ve had a couple kids under the weather,” she said. “We’re being a little more cautious this time of year.”

Read the full preview by cross country reporter Cameron DeBlasio