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Cardinal Preview: North Texas

Ball_St helmetvs. North_Texas

Ball State vs. North Texas

Location: Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, IN
Game Time: 7:30pm
Television: ESPNU

It’s been a long spring and summer as we have all sat patiently and waited. And waited. And waited. Sure, there was recruiting. There was the Draft. There were spring games and fan jams and cookouts. All nice little appetizers to get us hungry for today. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here. Finally. Mercifully.

For the Cardinals, they look to build upon the successes of last season and come out with a statement game. A game which silences the critics, put the fans at ease, and puts the rest of the MAC on notice that the jibba jabba about a struggling offense is a little premature. For the Mean Green, they are looking for something positive to build on for 2009, since Lord knows 2008 brought nothing to be happy about. 1-11 is nothing to be proud of, admit to, or even acknowledge. For example, as far as I remember, Ball State didn’t even have a football team in 1998 or 1999. On the bright side, UNT fans, there’s nowhere to go but up. Well… I guess you could always end up 0-12.

Listening to the fans this week on both sides has been entertaining, but there seems to be a large measure of confidence building on the UNT side of the fence. For really no reason. The UNT offense is decent, but the BSU defense looks to be the strength of the team. As for the biggest question, the BSU offense, they are facing a unit in UNT’s defense that gave up 40+ 9 times last season. Kelly Page and MiQuale Lewis had best be salivating at the opportunity to run roughshod over this defensive swiss cheese.

The Basics:
Ball State University Cardinals
Location: Muncie, IN
08 Record: 12-2

University of North Texas Mean Green
Location: Denton, TX
08 Record: 1-11

Offense
For UNT, it’s a pivotal year in the Todd Dodge era coming at a time when it’s either going to succeed for multiple years or crash and burn. Headlining the offense is Dodge’s son Riley as well as only one returning receiver. On the ground, they see Cam Montgomery, who was just shy of 1000 yards last season. Dodge should have time to throw the ball, and Montgomery should have some opportunity for success considering the offensive line returns 4 starters.

For the Cardinals, the good is the return of MiQuale Lewis as well as the receiving corps returning strong. The problems for the Cards are well noted in losing Nate Davis and 4 starters on the offensive line. Stepping into that role is Kelly Page, who has the reigns of the program as a true freshman. The last true freshman QB certainly used that experience to build himself into a draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers.
AdvantageBall_St helmet It’s a close one, but the advantage goes to BSU for the defense they face and the running of MiQuale Lewis.

Defense
For the Mean Green, they have a defense. That’s about the best thing you can say. They showed up to every game last year, though they may have had better results spending that scholarship money on something useful… like a mascot. But I digress. The UNT defense last season got burned repeatedly and routinely, which bodes well for a BSU offensive unit looking to get their feet wet with some success.

For the BSU defense, it will certainly be a different sort of experience with the new leadership. Taking the reigns of the defense, former coach Brady Hoke’s specialty, will be Doug Graber, a veteran coach and experienced defensive guru. His key elements of this defense only has one question mark, the corners, where both starters last season have graduated. Back for the Cardinals though are Brandon Crawford and Sean Baker, and it’s been a long bloodless off season for both.
Advantage: Ball_St helmet Sean “Soul Eater” Baker by himself would win the matchup. Add in Crawford and the other 9 starters and it’s about to get real for the UNT offense.

Coaching
One coach has players land in the NFL like Nate Davis and Tom Brady, is personally responsible for the resurgence of the BSU offense over the last several years, and seems to be genuinely understanding and excited about the challenge ahead. The other coach has a 3-24 record, has won one conference game in two seasons, and is following the Tubby Smith mantra of “When in doubt, play your son”.
Advantage: Ball_St helmet The nod goes easily to Stan Parrish. Todd Dodge would be better suited staying back in Denton and working on his resume. Something tells me after another year like the last one, he’s going to need an updated copy.

Intangibles
It’s the first game of the year, it’s a home game, it should be well attended by the student body, and the crowd for UNT will be virtually non-existent.
Advantage: Ball_St helmet

Mascot
The Mean Green, who apparently instill the fear of meanness and greenness with Scrappy the Eagle.
scrappy the eagle

Charlie Cardinal, avian awesomeness.
charlie cardinal

Advantage: Ball_St helmet Not even close. Is UNT the Eagles? Or the Mean Green? Or both? Who knows. Even if their Eagle wasn’t so shitacular Charlie still gets the nod.

Overall
They say you should take every opponent serious, that any team is capable of beating any other, yadda yadda yadda. Thankfully, I’m not on the team, nor does the ramblings of a fan obsessed blog impact the actual outcome of this game. However, one can bet that after the sour taste left in the mouths of the Cardinals after 08’s epic close, they will want some revenge on someone. Someone that’s respectable and you can learn from but offers no real challenge. Someone that is sort of a pushover. That someone wears green. Mean Green. Oooooooh…. scary.

Prediction
Ball State: 35
North Texas: 10

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One Response

  1. No wrong in being as confident as you are…especially after your winning season a year ago. We remember well how that felt. However, the Cardinals may be in for a cycle of new folks like we have been dealing with. If your High Times are as short lived as ours has been, I predict your strategy to boast will adjust also..as ours did. Good luck with that. Like you said….an Eagle may not beat a Cardinal (because our mascot may be a big wuss?)…But we dont want to eat Crow do we !

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