It’s expected this weekend that the lots and stadium of Rynearson will be packed with green and white as the Cardinals from Ball State University will be flying into town for a Mid-American Conference battle with Eastern Michigan University, which hosts their homecoming on Saturday.
EMU enters week six coming off of a heartbreaking loss in Mount Pleasant, Mich., against rival Central Michigan in their MAC opener, while Ball State also fell in their MAC opener to Western Michigan, 42-24.
In the last 10 meetings between the two, Ball State has been victorious in six of those meetings, but the Eagles came out on top most recently as they defeated the Cardinals last season, 20-16.
Here is your full game preview, as well as how to watch and what to watch for:
How to watch
When: Saturday, Oct. 7
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
EMU vs. Ball State odds
Spread: EMU -2.5
Over/Under: 42.5 points
Moneyline: EMU -142
ESPN Analytics: EMU 54.5% chance to win
Keys to success, what to watch
EMU: The big key for the Eagles on Saturday to obtain a homecoming victory in front of the Ypsilanti faithful will be to stay the course, and play their game, especially on the offensive side of the ball. EMU is going to have to be efficient in the run game, while also trying to be aggressive through the air. Through five games played so far on the season, Ball State has allowed 40 points or more; the Cardinals love giving up points. On top of that, the Cardinals have allowed at least 230 passing yards or more in four of their five games played, so you’ve got to attack them through the air. Ball State can find success in defending the run, as they average 104.4 yards per game given up on the ground, but they’ve also allowed eight rushing scores this season. Against this Ball State defense, it has to be the week where the Eagles find a potent and efficient way to torture their opponent on the offensive side of the ball.
Ball State: For Ball State to try to walk out of ‘The Factory’ on Saturday with a win, they’ve got to find ways to run the ball. The tough part for them is that they rank 129th in the country rushing the ball, while ranking 86th through the air. It’s clear that the Cardinals typically find success in their passing game, but that’s not going to cut it against an Eagles defense who ranks 26th in the country against the passing attack. What just might cut it is getting junior running back Marquez Cooper going with the run game, as EMU ranks 127th in the country against the run, while allowing three opponents so far this year to rush for over 200 yards.
Samson Evans on the brink of history: With EMU running back Samson Evans sitting at 31 career touchdowns, tied with EMU football's all-time leader Gary Patton, Evans has the chance to make history on Saturday becoming the Eagles all-time career touchdown leader if he finds the endzone.
Check out the full story on Evans' potential achievement: Evans ties Eagles' all-time career touchdown record