USF will look to bounce back in Muncie, Indiana, this Saturday as they get some hot MACtion going with the Ball State Cardinals.
GAME: USF Bulls at Ball State Cardinals
WHERE: Schuemann Stadium, Muncie, IN
DATE/TIME: Saturday, September 22, 4:30pm Eastern
TV: Big East Network (check your local listings, or tune in SNY on your cable or satellite sports pack), ESPN3
TICKETS: Beats me, but you should be able to get them if you want.
The Bulls met Ball State last season in USF's home opener and rolled up an easy 37-7 win in the only other meeting between the two teams.
Here are the basics about the Cardinals.
CONFERENCE: Mid-American (38th year)
WEB SITE: BallStateSports.com
2012 SEASON: The Cardinals are 2-1 on the season. They beat Eastern Michigan 37-26 in their season and MAC opener, then went to Clemson and put up a fairly good fight despite losing 52-27. Last week they visited Bloomington and led 38-25 with five minutes left, then gave up two touchdowns to Indiana, and then won 41-39 on a last-second field goal by Steven Schott. It was Ball State's third straight win over the Hoosiers, and second in as many seasons.
SB NATION BLOG: Off the network, Over the Pylon covers Ball State and, in their words, "covers Ball State University football from the blog perspective in the most overzealous manner possible, proving that as long as there is someone with enough free time you can obsess over anything." SB Nation offers Hustle Belt for all of your MAC needs.
OTHER NEWS OUTLETS: Muncie Star-Press
COACH: Pete Lembo (2nd season, 8-7). The Cardinals are Lembo's first coaching job in FBS after spending the previous decade as a head coach at Lehigh and at Elon, where he gave the 2007 Bulls a pretty hard time in their season opener.
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: Keith Wenning manages Ball State's spread offense. His completion percentage is down a bit from last season's 63.9% rate, but he still manages the passing game well. Wenning's first three touchdown passes of 2012 came last week against Indiana. The running game has been powered by Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks, each of whom are averaging over six yards per carry. Edwards ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns against Eastern Michigan.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: Travis Freeman is a tackling machine at linebacker. He recorded 134 tackles for the Cardinals last season and is right on pace to match that number with 33 through three games. Although Ball State only has four sacks, defensive lineman Jonathan Newsome has two of them. Like USF, though, Ball State has not intercepted a pass this year.