Western Michigan vs Ball State Preview
Western Michigan heads down to Ball State tomorrow night with the nations second-longest active winning streak on the line. Trailing only the University of Alabama (19 games), Western Michigan comes in with 10 consecutive wins under their belt. For the first time in program history, Western Michigan has won at least 8 games in 3 consecutive seasons. Averaging 44.4 points per games this season, the Broncos lead the MAC and are fourth in the country. For the first time in program history, Western Michigan comes into a game nationally ranked in both the USA Today Amway Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Poll. Coming in as the #17 team in the country, Western Michigan is the team to beat in the MAC.
Moving on up! Broncos 17th in @AP_Top25 and 18th in @USATODAY Coaches Poll! First @CFBPlayoff rankings come out on Tuesday at 7.— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) October 30, 2016
Western Michigan is one of only 5 remaining undefeated teams. The other 4 include Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, and Washington.
Western Michigan will be looking to shut down Ball State RB James Gilbert. Gilbert has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the last 4 games. Currently on the season, Gilbert is just 13 rushing yards short of the 1000 yard milestone. James Gilbert leads the MAC with 11 rushing touchdowns. Over the past 4 games, Gilbert has managed to make it into the end zone 9 times.
Ball State will need to look to somehow contain Western Michigan WR Corey Davis. Davis is already the all-time leading receiver in MAC history. Currently leading the entire FBS in active receiving yards, he needs just 568 more to break the all-time FBS receiving record. In his career so far, Davis has caught 4,437 yards worth of passes. On the season, Corey Davis leads the FBS with 11 touchdown receptions. With 43 career touchdown receptions to date, Davis holds the record at Western Michigan and needs only 4 more to break the MAC record as well.
Ball State and Western Michigan are two of the three best running teams in the MAC. Western Michigan leads the conference with 252.8 rushing yards per game. Ball State currently sits at third in the MAC with 226.6 rushing yards per game.
Ball State is third in country in fewest penalty yards per game (30.4), which is also tops in the MAC.
Western Michigan is also incredibly safe with the football. Currently, the team boasts a turnover differential of +12. WMU was also the last team in the country to commit a turnover this season.
This will be the first time an AP Top 25 team has visited Scheumann Stadium since 2003 (#22 Bowling Green).
A win for Ball State would be just the third win against a ranked opponent in program history. The last time they knocked off a Top 25 team was in 2012 (Toledo).
Western Michigan leads the all-time series 23-19 over Ball State. The matchup will be at 8 PM on Tuesday night and will be featured on ESPN2.
-Jon Opiela, @jonopiela24