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So Far in Two Seasons

If you want to find a game that emphasizes the impact Pete Lembo has made at Ball State, Saturday’s win over Central Michigan may be the best example.

Central entered the game with a coach on the hot seat and coming off of an embarrassing home loss to Navy. The Chips were the toast of the conference three years ago, now they struggle in league play.

To fully appreciate Lembo you have to remember what it was like two years ago. To do that just look at Central Michigan today.

As Ball State fans we have seen this before. Central Michigan in 2012 was exactly what Ball State was in 2010, the last year under Stan Parrish.

The result was a game that was never in doubt.

Central had a slight chance to make it interesting to start the second half. Down the 24-10, the Chips fumbled in Cardinal territory. Quarterback Keith Wenning and the offense quickly march down the field for another touchdown making it 31-10.

The rest of the game was pretty much killing clock.

In short, it appeared Central came into the game hoping for the best but expected the worse.

Remember how that felt Ball State fans?

Of course you do. It was like that just two years ago for every game. Even, gulp, against FCS opponents.

Under Pete Lembo it is only like that when the team plays an Oklahoma or a Clemson.

That type of an upgrade is dramatic. The win over Central showed just how much Ball State has improved from Lembo’s first year too.

In 2011, Ball State struggled to gain control with Central in Muncie before finally wrapping it up on this interception from Sean Baker. What was a close match in 2011 was a clinic on how to win on the road in 2012.

Ball State just needs two of its last four to get the seven needed for a likely bowl bid. Thankfully, in two games Ball State should be favored. Army and Miami University are both on the road but on paper Ball State is the better team. Toledo and Ohio will be more difficult.

The Cardinals have a slim chance to win the MAC West, but that is 100 times better than looking for a new coach at this point two years ago.

This is why we love the MAC, a league where teams rise and fall. It makes the MAC interesting compared to other BCS leagues where the same team three schools alternate conference championships.

Enjoy the success while you can. In the MAC nothing lasts forever.

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