Chirp: X-factors against Miami
Both teams are out of bowl contention, but will see each other every year following this one playing in the Red Bird Rivalry.
Ball State (2-9, 0-7 MAC) hosts Miami (4-7, 3-4 MAC) at 7 p.m. Tuesday for what will be the final game of the season for both teams.
Robby General, the Daily News football reporter, is covering the game and offered up some insight on the key positional matchups:
Ball State defensive front vs. Miami's running backs
Ball State defense sits in the middle of the Mid-American Conference in terms of rushing yards against per game (193.7), while Miami's offense is sixth in the conference with 148.9 rushing yards per game.
While no team has a clear advantage in this matchup, the utilization of Miami's two running back look with Kenny Young and Alonzo Smith will be vital in this game. As a unit, the two have lost just 34 yards combined this season.
Slight edge: Miami
Ball State run game vs. Miami's defensive front
Ball State is no pushover when it comes to the running game. The Cardinals ran for 194 yards last week with freshman Caleb Huntley having a career day with 141 yards while sophomore Malik Dunner had 63 yards and a touchdown on just four carries.
Miami's rush defense, however, is one of the best in the MAC. As a team, the RedHawks give up the third lowest rushing yards in the conference with 155.7 per game, allowing 12 scores this season. Getting Huntley and Dunner involved in the game will be vital for Ball State.
Ball State secondary vs. Miami's pass offense
Ball State has given up 26 passing touchdowns to opponents this season – most in the MAC. The Cardinals average 241.4 passing yards against them per game and are the least efficient in the conference in terms of pass defense.
Miami doesn't have the most prolific passing offense, averaging 245.8 yards per game, but it has been able to utilize two different quarterbacks this season to maintain its offensive attack. Redshirt junior Gus Ragland had his career-best game nearly one year ago finishing with 26 completions and 380 yards through the air.
Ball State pass attack vs. Miami secondary
Ball State, while it averages 184.4 passing yards per game, had some success through the air against Buffalo at home. Senior quarterback Jack Milas hinted that he would likely start in the last game of his collegiate career, so it'll be interesting to see if the Cardinals utilize its passing game more.
Miami's pass defense is in the middle of the pack in the MAC, but it does allow opponents to move the ball more than 39 percent on third down, a big passing down for a run-first Ball State team. The Cardinals can open up a whole new offense scheme with an efficient passing game.
Ball State put together its most competitive conference game of the season last week against Buffalo.
While that may be the case, Miami has proven it can compete with just about anyone in the MAC, losing close games to Bowling Green, Kent State and Eastern Michigan.
Still, Ball State is on the midst of an eight-game losing streak, so the question remains, can the Cardinals get it done one last time at home this season?
Contact Robby General with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @rgeneraljr.