The Cardinals prepare to run onto the field before the game against Akron on Oct. 22 in Scheumann Stadium. Ball State lost 25 to 35. Grace Ramey // DN

Chirp: X-factors against Western Michigan

After a few extra days off, Ball State (4-4) plays host to No. 17 Western Michigan (8-0) at 8 p.m. on Nov. 1. The Broncos raced out to a 30-0 lead in last year's meeting and walked off their home field with a 54-7 blowout victory.

Ball State's new head football coach Mike Neu coaches from the sidelines during the game against Northern Illinois on Oct. 1 in Scheumann Stadium. Neu played collegiate football at Ball State where he was named 1993 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Grace Ramey // DN

Football coaches using extra days off for recruiting

With a couple extra days before the Cardinals take on Western Michigan, several of the coaches hit the road early this week for recruiting. Since the team doesn't have a true bye week, head coach Mike Neu said this is the biggest week they've had to connect with recruits.

Ball State's quarterback Riley Neal attempts to run the ball down the field during the game against Akron on Oct. 22 in Scheumann Stadium. The Cardinals lost 25 to 35. Grace Ramey // DN

Neal and passing game continue to struggle in loss to Akron

Ball State's offense built a big lead against Akron Oct. 22, but couldn't sustain a drive in the second half as the Zips came back to win 35-25. After Neal threw for just 187 yards and an interception in the loss, head coach Mike Neu was asked about the notion that he has regressed this season.

Akron's quarterback Tra'Von Chapman makes a touchdown during the game on Oct. 22 in Scheumann Stadium. Ball State lost 25 to 35. Grace Ramey // DN

Ball State allows 529 yards in Homecoming loss to Akron

At halftime of the Homecoming game, Ball State led 17-7 over Akron. The Cardinals had more yards, more possession and a habit of coming out strong in the second half. But the Zips came back to win 35-25. “We’re all disappointed, me included,” head coach Mike Neu said.

Muncie Central head football coach Adam Morris works on onside kicks with his team. Morris played football at Ball State from 2008-2011. DN//Colin Grylls

Ball State football alumnus fulfills dreams as Muncie Central head coach

On a gray, unseasonably warm Tuesday afternoon in October, the only glob of color at Muncie Central’s football practice is the red facade of Muncie Liquors across the river. The Bearcats are running through seven-on-seven drills when senior defensive back Gino Taylor is blocked by a receiver, the ball carrier bursting past him. Head coach Adam Morris’s sharp whistle pierced the air, but where other coaches might yell and shriek, his voice was calm — yet still firm.

Ball State’s quarterback Riley Neal makes a touchdown during the home opener game against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 17 in Scheumann Stadium for Family Weekend. Ball State won 41-14. Grace Ramey // DN

Homecoming 'special' for Neu, who led 1993 record-breaking comeback

There have been a number of close Homecoming football games in Ball State's past, but the 1993 game set a number of records that still stand to this day. To say the Cardinals fell in an early hole is an understatement. Toledo scored on five of its first eight possessions and jumped out to a 30-3 lead at Scheumann Stadium. But behind a quarterback by the name of Mike Neu, Ball State stormed back with 28 straight points and scored a touchdown as time expired for a 31-30 victory — still the largest comeback in Ball State history.


Empty Nest: Ball State working to increase attendance at football games

Media reports from Mid-American Conference schools Eastern Michigan University and Kent State University show that universities are experimenting with a new marketing strategy: selling beer at stadiums. Will Ball State see beer at Scheumann Stadium anytime soon? Shawn Sullivan, Ball State’s assistant athletic director for marketing and fan engagement, says there have been discussions but nothing anywhere close to final decisions. “I think it’s always a discussion point, and we’ve certainly had internal discussions about it,” Sullivan said. “But there are several discussion points that may increase revenue and attendance and that’s just one of many options that we talk about.” While there are no plans to sell alcohol in the immediate future, one thing is clear — attendance at Cardinals football games was one of the lowest in the country in 2015.

Ball State running back James Gilbert celebrates a touchdown against Northern Illinois on Oct. 1 at Scheumann Stadium. NIU defeated the Cardinals 31-24. Grace Ramey // DN

Ball State beats Buffalo behind Gilbert's big day

It didn’t really matter who was at quarterback in the second half for Ball State. As long as they could turn it around and hand it off to running back James Gilbert, they were OK. The sophomore ran 34 times for 264 yards and two touchdowns to lift Ball State (4-3, 1-2 MAC) to a 31-21 win at Buffalo (1-5, 0-2 MAC) on Saturday.

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