Friday, September 26, 2008

Cardinal Roundtable: Kent State

In an effort to rally the troops of the blogosphere who share their affinity for the Ball State University Cardinals, OTP is proud to present the next installment of the Cardinal Roundtable. Each week, a different BSU blog will pose questions to the group about the upcoming game and the season in general. Phil at The Sixth Ball Brother is up this week, and the links to our Blog Buddy counterparts can be found at the bottom. Go Cards!

1. How important was last week's victory over IU last Saturday?
The game was important for several reasons, some of which developed as the game happened. First and foremost, the game was this week's win. That by itself makes it important. Also important is the mental aspect of beating an in-state BCS school. The amount of confidence that game gave these Cardinals should be huge. The game also proved that for all the press the passing game gets, this team can flat out run the ball. Most important though, in my eyes, was the performance of the team after Love's injury. It showed this team has talent beyond #86 and that this team has immeasurable amounts of heart. All good things, all important, all made possible by the win and how they did it.

2. Feel free here to share your favorite Dante Love moment and what his loss will mean to the football team.
My favorite thing about Dante Love didn't even take place on the football field. Simply put, the guy was everything you want a fantastic athlete to be. He was personable, engaging, and from all accounts I've seen a model citizen and student. He was never in trouble, he went through hard times in the program and athletic department, and he stuck it out. Evident by his answers recently about baseball and continuing his career in perhaps another sport, the guy is a class act who is a Cardinal through and through.

3. With Saturday being Homecoming and all, what is your favorite Homecoming memory?
I was fortunate to be involved in some great Homecomings in my time at Ball State. Most dramatic was the win over Toledo in 2001. In fact, as I write this, there is a piece of the goal post that made its way back to our fraternity house staring back at me. It was a simply fantastic game, and I have the large piece of fluorescent metal to prove it.

4. Kent State has a MiQuale Lewis of its own in the MAC's leading rusher last year. Can the Mighty Bird shut him down?
Ball State might not have to if Kent shuts them down themselves. The last few games he's gotten less and less carries because of an ankle injury. Eugene Jarvis' backup Andre Flowers is serviceable but not fantastic, and both figure to get significant carries on Saturday. Jarvis has made a living and gained those fabulous statistics against a MAC East. This Ball State defense isn't stellar, but it's better than your average MAC team.

5. Julian Edelman is another guy who has shown ability to run the ball in the past. Was the shutting down of Kellen Lewis in the second half just an aberration or has the defense turned the corner?
I'm not sure the defense has turned the corner, but kudos to the adjustments made at the half. Having said that, Edelman is no Lewis, and the fact that they shut down the best dual threat QB they'll face all year gives me no reason to believe that Edelman can beat them. If he has an All-World sort of day, then more power to him, but I'll be surprised if he gets going.

6. Does Saturday's game at Kent State feel like a trap game at all?
If it wasn't Homecoming I would say yes. However, the emotion of Homecoming and winning one for Dante tells me there won't be. The first series will be a big indicator of what sort of Cardinal team we'll be watching. A sluggish first series or a three-and-out start could snowball, but I expect this Cardinal offense to show up and show up big.

7. I'll keep this tradition alive: What one player on Kent State's team would you like to have roaming the Ball State sideline?
Truthfully, no one. I don't see any particular player on Kent's team that would start at Ball State. Though tempted to say someone like placekicker Nate Reed or WR Shawn Bayes for a return threat, but when I boil it down, there isn't one particular player on Kent's team that is better or more talented than their Ball State counterpart. This is going to be an ugly game if Ball State shows up ready. The only way they lose is if they beat themselves.

8. Where do you rate Ball State's BCS chances at this point?
Truthfully, before last night's game with USC going down like a drunk freshman, I would have said a longshot. But the fact remains that with so much parity in college football this year, it truly is anyone's race. The team that scares me most is BYU. They need to lose, plain and simple. There's only room for one Cinderella at the BCS ball, and right now, it's BYU's to lose.

The other participants in the roundtable:

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