On Sunday, January 5th, the Cardinals will pack up the greatest show on field turf and mosey on down to Mobile where they will play in their 7th bowl in program history and 2nd consecutive bowl in the Lembo era at Ball State. The GoDaddy.com bowl features Arkansas State from the Sun Belt as Ball State’s first potential bowl victim, and the Red Wolves will be minus one head coach when the game kicks off.
It was reported today by USAToday that ASU head coach Bryan Harsin was hired to fill the void left by Chris Peterson leaving Boise State for Washington. For Arkansas State, their next coach will be their 5th coach in as many years and that’s pretty much the definition of tumult. Of course, the flip side of that coin is the normal program-shaking situation of a head coach leaving before a season is complete is old hat for these Red Wolves. As a BSU loyalist, I will choose instead to assume that those on the staff that’s left are having a hard time even finding things in the office like whistles or three button short shorts. Coaches still wear those, right?
For the Cards, this bowl game is tremendously important as it could be the first bowl victory in the history of the program, and I would argue, perhaps the most winnable of the last few in the modern era. At 7-5 overall and 5-2 in the Sunbelt for ASU, compared to 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the MAC for BSU, the records would indicate that BSU should have a slight advantage. Let’s see what the numbers say…
|Scoring Offense||13th (40.1)
|Rushing Offense||79th (153.1)||29th (207.0)|
|Passing Offense||9th (333.3)||87th (207.2)|
|Total Offense||19th (486.3)||65th (414.2)|
|Scoring Defense||48th (24.8)||65th (26.7)|
|Rushing Defense||94th (194.8)||83rd (182.8)|
|Passing Defense||58th (226.0)||74th (234.4)|
|Total Defense||87th (420.8)||79th (417.3)|
|Sacks||59th (25.0)||60th (24.0)|
|Sacks Allowed||16th (14.0)||80th (27.0)|
|Turnover Margin||10th (+12)||29th (+6)|
|3rd Down Conv. %||41st (44.1%)||29th (45.6%)|
|Opp. 3rd Down Conv. %||67th (39.9%)||47th (37.0%)|
|Red Zone Conv. %||11th (90.3%)||31st (87.5%)|
|Opp. Red Zone Conv. %||25th (77.1%)||23rd (76.9%)|
|Punting||68th (40.7)||73rd (40.4)|
|Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game||6th (31.6)||100th (58.1)|
Of the 17 stats measured for our By the Numbers pieces, the Cardinals hold an 11-6 advantage, which is considerably closer than I expected. Don’t be fooled, Cards fans. This one will be far from easy. Each day leading up to this particular contest we have something exciting planned, so be sure to check back for your BSU GoDaddy Bowl ridiculousness.