Looking Ahead to UCF's Bowl Game Opponent: Ball State

Go C-USA! Pete Lembo is in his second year at Ball State (courtesy of BSU media relations).
Pete Lembo is in his second year at Ball State (courtesy of BSU media relations).

Dec. 9, 2012

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By Brian Ormiston and Evans Calixte

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Finishing second in the MAC West Division only behind BCS-bound Northern Illinois, Ball State put together an impressive second half of 2012 and enters its game with UCF on a roll. The two programs will clash Friday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg as both schools have nine victories.

Ball State's (9-3) season mirrored its counterpart at UCF (9-4) as it lost to a string of high quality opponents and came close to smelling a title in the MAC only to fall short. In 2012, they suffered defeats to three opponents who all finished the season ranked in the final BCS standings: Clemson, Kent State and Northern Illinois. Meanwhile, it had big wins over Indiana, South Florida and then-No. 25 Toledo, and currently rides a six-game winning streak.

The Cardinals are 5-2 away from home in 2012, while they are 0-6-1 all-time in bowl games, with their last trip coming in the GMAC on Jan. 6, 2009 (lost to Tulsa, 45-13).

-The Cardinals are no slouch when it comes to putting points on the board as they average 35.00 points per game.
-They boast a 1,000-yard rusher in sophomore Jahwan Edwards (1,321, 14 touchdowns) and a 1,000-yard receiver in sophomore Willie Snead (1,070, seven touchdowns).
-Along with Edwards, Haractio Banks has rushed for 585 yards and four touchdowns.
-During its six-game winning streak, Ball State has scored at least 30 points in each contest, while it has registered at least 23 points in all 12 games in 2012.
-BSU has collected 24 rushing touchdowns and 26 passing touchdowns.
-Junior quarterback Keith Wenning did not participate in the regular-season finale due to an injury, and it remains unclear if he will start against the Knights. He has thrown for 22 touchdowns and 2,878 yards, but senior backup Kelly Page has only played in two games, and has three touchdowns with no interceptions.
-Ball State ranks eighth in the nation in fewest sacks allowed, and is in the top two in the MAC in total offense, scoring offense and third-down conversions.

-BSU has surrendered at least 22 points in all 12 games, and sits in eighth in the MAC and 89th in the FBS in scoring defense.
-Also in the FBS, it ranks 102nd in total defense, 106th in rushing defense and 111th in tackles for loss.
-At middle linebacker, senior Travis Freeman leads all current players in the country with 455 career tackles, highlighted by 119 this year. However he has just one tackle for loss in 2012.
-Former UCF Knight Jarrett Swaby is enrolled in graduate school at Ball State, and is third on the team with 66 tackles.
-Junior defensive end Jonathan Newsome has racked up 8.5 sacks this year with 12.0 tackles for loss.

Special Teams
-Ball State ranks second in the MAC in kickoff returns (23.78), punt returns (11.06) and net punting (39.61).
-Jamill Smith averages 13.8 yards per punt return, as well as 25.8 yards per kickoff return.
-Punter Scott Kovanda has placed 26 of 44 punts inside the 20, and was one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter.
-Placekicker Steve Schott has tied for the second most field goals made this year with 24.

Game One - Eastern Michigan - Aug. 30 - W, 37-26
-Tied at 13-13 through the first half, Edwards had a 75-yard touchdown run and the Cardinals never looked back.
-BSU outgained EMU in total yards, 596-366.
-Edwards finished with 200 yards and three touchdowns.

Game Two - at No. 12 Clemson - Sept. 8 - L, 52-27
-Ball State gave up 32 points in the second quarter in the loss, and Wenning tossed two interceptions.
-Banks averaged 17.1 yards a carry on seven rushes, 120 yards and touchdowns.
-Clemson produced 372 yards in the air, and only scored seven points in the second half

Game Three - at Indiana - Sept. 15 - W, 41-39
-Indiana took a 39-38 lead with a touchdown with 49 seconds left on a drive that lasted six plays, 77 yards and 53 seconds. But that gave BSU just enough time as four completions later, Schott hit on a 42-yard field goal with no time left for the win.
-Wenning threw for three touchdowns and had 222 yards on 44 attempts.
-Newsome had a pair of sacks and Eric Patterson notched three break-ups.

Game Four - USF - Sept. 22 - W, 31-27
-The Bulls grabbed a 27-24 advantage with 4:12 left only to witness Wenning drive the Cardinals down the field, including a fourth-down conversion and ultimately a 19-yard touchdown pass to Snead for the final margin.
-Patterson would intercept a USF pass at the BSU 9-yard line to seal the victory on the final drive of the game.
-Snead had 11 catches for 135 yards, while Edwards rushed for 98 yards and a score.

Game Five - At Kent State - Sept. 29 - L, 45-43
-Ball State played another close contest, falling behind 28-13 only to jump ahead 43-42 late in the fourth quarter. That was when Kent State went 15 plays and 86 yards in just under two minutes, topped off with a 25-yard field goal to down the Cardinals.
-Wenning was 32-for-43 with 445 yards and five touchdowns, and Snead had 216 of those yards.
-Schott was 3-for-4 in field goals, with his only miss being a 51 yarder in the first quarter.

Game Six - Northern Illinois - Oct. 6 - L, 35-23
-BSU held a slim 16-14 lead at the break, then a 23-14 advantage in the third quarter until NIU scored the game's final 21 points.
-Ball State led in total yards, 563-509, but gave up 314 rushing yards.
-The home team aired it out, with Wenning throwing the ball 71 times for 434 yards.

Game Seven - Western Michigan - Oct. 13 - W, 30-24
-Another close game was on tap, with WMU tying things at 24-24 with a 52-yard field goal as time expired to send it to overtime.
-In the extra session, the Broncos missed a 36-yard field goal, setting up Edwards who rushed three times en route to the endzone and a BSU win.
-Edwards completed the game with 138 yards and three touchdowns.

Game Eight - at Central Michigan - Oct. 20 - W, 41-30
-Each team turned the ball over twice, and was almost dead even in yards as BSU led 464-446.
-Wenning had a 23-for-30 day with three touchdown passes.
-Ball State accumulated three sacks and three break-ups.

Game Nine - at Army - Oct. 27 - W, 30-22
-A Schott 37-yard field goal with 4:52 remaining pushed BSU in front 30-20 en route to the win, as Schott was 3-for-3 on the day.
-Edwards galloped for 148 yards, and Wenning tossed a pair of touchdowns on 27 attempts.
-As expected, Army threw little (just six passes) and ran for 341 yards.

Game 10 - at No. 25 Toledo - Nov. 6 - W, 34-27
-Continuing a trend of close games, BSU and Toledo were tied at 27-27 before the Cardinals broke the stalemate with an Edwards touchdown run with 1:43 left.
-Toledo rushed for 311 yards and outgained Ball State overall, 526-446, but committed 10 penalties compared to BSU's three.
-The Cardinals were 8-of-12 on third downs, and Wenning tossed three touchdowns along with three interceptions.

Game 11 - Ohio - Nov. 14 - W, 52-27
-Ball State erased any doubt about this one in the third quarter. Trailing 24-21, it outscored Ohio the rest of the way 31-3.
-The Cardinals had only one penalty in the game and did not turn the ball over.
-With 173 yards, Wenning was 16-for-20 with two touchdowns, and Page went 5-for-7 with two more TDs.

Game 12 - at Miami (Ohio) - Nov. 23 - W, 31-24
-Ball State did not trail in the win, and after a Miami field goal with 3:44 remaining, BSU ran out most of the clock. It eventually punted with under 30 seconds left when Miami fumbled the return and the Cardinals recovered for the win.
-With Wenning injured, Page was 11-for-21 with 137 yards and a touchdown.
-Edwards had 98 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, while Banks chipped in 80 rushing yards.



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