For most of the season, the Broncos defense has been a liability allowing 28 points per game and ranking 107th in total defense, surrendering 437.3 yards per game. Ten days ago the defense as a group stepped up and forced six turnovers against Eastern Michigan and won handily 35-13 as 13-point favorites. They will attempt to generate the same kind of pressure and hard hitting against Ball State on ESPN2 MAC contest.
Western Michigan (5-6, 3-8 ATS) players after a long season, seem to understand finally what is needed. “I felt things pick up right from the beginning,” Broncos safety Jamail Berry said. “We just came out with the emphasis (that) we need turnovers. Anything’s possible from the D-line all the way back to the secondary. That’s just what we tried to do.”
The Broncos have not been a good cover team the last few years, sporting a 10-22 ATS record. Quarterback Tim Hiller has 98 career touchdown passes and two more ties the MAC’s all-time record and a victory keeps a glimmer of hope for a bowl invite at 6-6.
Ball State (1-10, 5-6 ATS) fell off the planet this season after playing in the conference championship game a season ago. The Cardinals suffered extensive losses on offense and it showed, averaging 18.9 points per game.
They also lost their coach Brady Hoke, who maybe knew what he was doing in getting out and taking San Diego State head job. Ball State made a curious hire in naming Stan Parrish as head coach. Though his credentials as assistant are excellent, coming into this position his record was 2-31-1 and has kept along same career path. After being blasted by Central Michigan 35-3 in final home game and passing for 105 yards, Ball State is 17-6 ATS after gaining 125 or less passing yards in last their game.
Bookmaker.com has Western Michigan as 11-point favorites with total 51.5 and the Broncos are 12-5 ATS in home season finales. Ball State is 9-1 ATS as a road underdog over the last three seasons.
This utterly fascinating (really?) MAC matchup begins at 7:00 Eastern and Ball State is 6-2 SU and ATS in last eight meetings.