With the offseason upon us it is time to break out the statistics and find something worthless, I mean of great importance. I believe numbers never lie except when used to support an argument.
However, a few stats involving Ball State’s offense appear to have some substance. Specifically when looking at Ball State’s passing and rushing yards gained in each MAC contest in 2012. Let’s give it a whirl.
Quarterback Keith Wenning and the passing game obviously ripped it up in 2012 as the Cardinals had at least 200 yards passing in every MAC game Wenning started. The Miami game featured Kelly Page as Wenning was injured.
Also noticeable are the two games where Wenning threw for over 400 yards. Those were the only two MAC losses on the season.
Looking at the running game led by Jahwan Edwards, Horactio Banks, Barrington Scott and an experienced offensive line, the best performances came against Ohio and Eastern Michigan. Those two wins were the most dominant victories the Cardinals had in conference play.
On the other side the two worst rushing performances came against Northern Illinois and Kent State, the two MAC defeats. Two close wins against Western Michigan and Toledo featured a modest rushing attack of 168 and 166 yards respectfully.
From these stats one could say if Ball State rushes for less than 150 yards it is going to be a rough day. Between 150 and 200 rushing yards and it will be a tight contest. Over 200 rushing yards and Ball State is sitting pretty. That might be a stretch to assume this but it was the case in 2012. There was a direct correlation between the rushing yards gained and the outcome of every MAC contest.
The bowl game against Central Florida was another example in the ugliest form possible. The Cardinals managed only 71 yards on the ground leading to the worst outing of the year.
The stats simply prove that if Ball State struggles to run the team will struggle too. Keith Wenning could play like Nate Davis in the passing game but the running game is still a must for the Cards to grab a MAC title.
That is a disturbing thought with the bulk of the offensive line graduating this year. It is easy to assume the running game will take a step back in 2013 but that does not mean that will be the case. The three rushers mentioned above will all return and should be bigger, stronger, and faster with a great offseason.
The other assumption one could make is teams with physical defensive lines are the worst teams Ball State could face. Central Florida, Kent State, and Northern Illinois all had that in common. As a result they all shut the Ball State rushing attack down.
What we can assume is this will be the biggest question heading into the spring game and probably the season opener against Illinois State. Which, given the state of our men’s basketball team, cannot come soon enough.