The Central Michigan Life football reporters weigh in on their expectations for this week’s Homecoming matchup between the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-4) and the Ball State Cardinals (4-3) Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
CMU did not play well last Friday, period. But, I guarantee the team will come out with an extra edge on Saturday. The Chippewas will be looking to break a three-game losing streak, earn their first conference win, and, to top it off, it’s Homecoming. But it will be difficult containing Ball State’s offense ranked first in the MAC in yards per game. It will be a high-scoring affair, but I expect quarterback Ryan Radcliff having a bounce-back performance after being replaced by backup Cody Kater against Navy. Prediction: BSU 38, CMU 41
I was embarrassed I picked CMU last week in the matchup against Navy. I will stop siding with the potential I see in the Chippewas until I can see it consistently. The team will take an early lead during its Homecoming game before Ball State rolls in the second half with its running game. Prediction: BSU 34, CMU 24
Ball State has the top offense in the Mid-American Conference, which does not bode well for a Central Michigan defense that has struggled to stop teams at times this season. Saturday’s game is the second of a four-game home stand and is probably the most crucial. If the Chippewas can win this game, they have winnable games against Western Michigan and Akron coming up. Unfortunately for CMU, I see this game following the same script as its previous few with the Chippewas hanging around until the fourth quarter and losing at the end. Prediction: BSU 35, CMU 21
Offensively, the Cardinals are just too good for CMU. They showcase a quarterback who completes 62.9 percent of his passes and averages 286.4 yards per game. His top target, Willie Snead, leads the conference in average receptions and yards per game. In addition to its top-notch passing game, running back Jahwan Edwards will make you pay if you drop too many players back into coverage. I expect a high-scoring Homecoming game, but I haven’t seen enough from CMU’s defense to believe it’ll give Keith Wenning issues. Prediction: BSU 45, CMU 31