1-3 Ball State has only faced the current Mountain West Conference members four times – all in boules games – and has a 1-3 recording in these playoff games. The Cardinals beat San Jose State 34-13 in the 2020 Arizona Bowl. Ball State lost 27-6 to Fresno State in the 1989 California Raisin Bowl, lost 42-33 to Utah State in Las Vegas Bowl 1993 and 18-15 over Nevada in the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl. UW improved to 9-4 against Mid-American Conference teams with a 50-43 victory last week in Northern Illinois.
3 Isaiah Neyor had shown flashes of brilliance in his previous eight games for the Cowboys, but never reached the end zone. The dynamic wide receiver scored three touchdowns in Wyoming’s 50-43 victory over Northern Illinois. Neyor had four receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 13 yards and one score. He also grabbed a 2 point conversion to top off his breakout game.
11 Xazavian Valladay finished with 101 rushing yards at Northern Illinois, which marked his 11th career 100-yard running game. He currently sits seventh on the UW career scorecard with 2,389 yards and needs 144 yards to pass Shaun Wicks (2,533 yards, 2012-16).
20 Ball State returns 20 entries (10 in attack, 10 in defense) of the 2020 team who finished 7-1 with a MAC championship and the first bowl victory of the program. UW is also coming back 20 players with starting experience (10 on offense, 10 on defense) after finishing a disappointing 2-4 in the shortened MWC season. Both teams send the five starters back down the offensive line. The unit that performs the best is likely to come out victorious.
53.9 Craig Bohl has promised more balance in attack this season and first-year coordinator Tim Polasek has kept his promises, at least in terms of distance in the first two games. UW’s passing game generated 53.9% (400 yards) of the team’s total offense (742 yards). The running game, which the team relied on in 2020 when Sean Chambers missed all but three games with injury and Levi Williams played with an injured throwing shoulder, accounted for 342 yards (46.1% ). Polasek has called 49 assists and 88 points so far.
271 The Cowboys have intercepted Rocky Lombardi three times but allowed 233 yards on the 16 passes completed by the NIU quarterback (14.6 yards per). Now they will face Ball State quarterback Drew Plitt, who only needs 126 passing yards on Saturday to eclipse career 7,000 yards. His favorite target, wide receiver Justin Hall, leads every active college player in career receptions with 271 and recorded at least one capture in the 45 games of his career. Hall needs 87 yards against the Cowboys to pass Dante Ridgeway (3,030 yards) as the all-time leading receiver in Ball State history.