The Ball State football team huddles up during the second quarter in the game against Toledo on Oct. 2 at Scheumann Stadium. Ball State lost 24-10. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY

Ball State vs. Northern Illinois - Quarter Updates

First Quarter The Northern Illinois Huskies won the toss and deferred to the second half. Ball State starts three-and-out -- which included two dropped passes from KeVonn Mabon and Jordan Hogue -- but Kyle Schmidt’s punt hits a Northern Illinois player at their 41-yard line.

Head coach Pete Lembo talks to the refs during the game against Indiana State on Sept. 13 at Scheumann Stadium DN PHOTO TAYLOR IRBY

Secondhalf adjustments key for Cardinals' success

Second-half adjustments have been key to the Ball State football team's performance both offensively and defensively this season. Head coach Pete Lembo spoke at his weekly press conference on Oct. 6, touching on the team's performance against Toledo.

Freshman quarterback Riley Neal hand the ball off to sophomore running back Darian Green during the game against Toledo on Oct. 2 at Scheumann Stadium. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY

Anatomy of a play: Ball State vs. Toledo

Late in the first quarter, Ball State was gifted with great field position after Toledo’s punt was partially blocked. At the time, both teams were scoreless, but after this turnover Toledo went on to take over the game. Here’s the anatomy of Neal’s fumble that gave Toledo the momentum.

Freshman quarterback Riley Neal hands the ball off to freshman running back James Gilbert during the game against Toledo on Oct. 2 at Scheumann Stadium. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY

Rushing offense, defense lead to Homecoming defeat

Ball State's strong-suit this year on offense has been the running game, but in the Oct. 3 Homecoming matchup, it was quite the opposite. The Cardinals were averaging 232 rushing yards per game prior to Toledo. The Rockets held them to 26 net yards on the ground while they ran for 280 yards of their own.


Toledo Rockets question and answer

Heading into this week's Homecoming game, the Daily News is debuting a new weekly piece in which we speak to the opposing team's beat writer. Toledo, a team right outside the top 25 in the polls (No. 26), looks to come into Muncie to spoil Ball State's Homecoming. 

Head coach Pete Lembo looks onward during the game against Virginia Military Institute on Sept. 3 at Scheumann Stadium. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY

Ball State set to host tough Toledo squad for Homecoming

In its first four games, the Ball State football team took on some tough teams, including nationally-ranked Texas A&M and Northwestern. It won't get any easier when the Cardinals host the Toledo Rockets in a Mid-American Conference tilt at Scheumann Stadium for Ball State's Homecoming weekend. The Rockets are just outside the nation's top-25 after a 3-0 start and wins over Arkansas and Iowa State.

True freshmen Riley Neal played his first full game at Northwestern on Sept. 26 at Ryan Field. The Cardinals lost 24-19. DN PHOTO ALLISON COFFIN

Ball State missing opportunities on 3rd down

This season, the Ball State offense has been steadily improving with freshman Riley Neal as the starting quarterback. But one thing is hampering the Cardinals from their full potential: missed opportunities and poor conversion rates on third down.

The crowd cheers during the football game against Virginia Military Institute on Sept. 3 at Schuemann Stadium DN PHOTO MAKAYLA JOHNSON

Chirp: X Factors on the Field

Ball State rushing attack vs. Toledo run defense Ball State: Ball State's ground game is averaging over 230 yards per game and have 10 touchdowns. These numbers look even more impressive with big games against Texas A&M and a top defense in Northwestern. Running back Darian Green has had no trouble running behind Ball State's veteran offensive line.

Sophomore Darian Green runs the ball inside the red zone against Virginia Military Institute on Sept. 3. Green and center Jacob Richard have contributed to an efficient offense for the Cardinals this season. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BSU PHOTO SERVICES

Richard, Green providing lift for offense this season

The Ball State running game has excelled this season, averaging over 230 yards per game through four games. Running the ball takes a team effort, but the Cardinals' attack has been ignited by two players. Head coach Pete Lembo does not "talk in absolutes or extremes," but said it all starts with two players.

Ball State gained 181 yards on the ground against Northwestern on Saturday September 26, 2015 thanks to freshmen James Gilbert and Riley Neal. The Wildcats had only allowed 110 yards per game before playing the Cardinals. (DN PHOTO ALLISON COFFIN)

Ball State gains 181 rushing yards on country's No. 10 defense

Coming into Ball State's road contest with No. 17 Northwestern, it looked as if the Cardinals' offense would be in for a long night. Ball State controlled most of the first half, however, and the offense gained 359 yards — 181 on the ground — against the nation's No. 10-ranked defense in a 24-19 loss. 

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