2008 Ball State Cardinals Season

2008 Ball State Cardinals Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Ball State Cardinals

Jan. 6
2009 GMAC Bowl
Tulsa 45 … Ball State 13

In a rain storm, the Tulsa offense had no problems, racking up 632 yards with Tarrion Adams leading the way with touchdown runs of one, 56, and 11 yards. Ball State managed to keep it close early on a 17-yard Nate Davis scoring run, but the offense failed to get into the end zone over the final 49 minutes. The Cardinals only managed two Ian McGarvey field goals the rest of the way, while Tulsa dominated the second half with 21 unanswered points on two David Johnson touchdown passes and Adams' final scoring dash.
Player of the Game: Tulsa RB Tarrion Adams ran 19 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns, and WR Damaris Johnson caught six passes for 135 yards and a touchdown, ran three times for 76 yards, and retuned three kickoffs for 63 yards. 
Stat Leaders: Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 9-29, 145 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 16-35. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 3-46
Tulsa - Passing: David Johnson, 15-25, 193 yds, 3 TD
Rushing:
Tarrion Adams, 19-207, 3 TD. Receiving: Damaris Johnson, 6-135, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the GMAC Bowl
… Total offense: Tulsa 632 – BSU 223 … Rushing yards: Tulsa 439 – BSU 78 … Third down conversions: Tulsa 9-of-18 – BSU 2-of-15 … 2nd half time of possession: Tulsa 21:24 – BSU 8:36 … Average yards per punt return: BSU 38 – Tulsa 4.3 … First downs: Tulsa 30 – BSU 9 … Ball State's Alex Knipp made 13 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack.

- 2008 BSU Preview
- 2007 BSU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2008 Record: 12-
2

Aug. 28 Northeastern W 48-14
Sept. 5 Navy W 35-23
Sept. 13 at Akron W 41-24
Sept. 20 at Indiana W 42-20
Sept. 27 Kent State W 41-20
Oct. 4 at Toledo W 31-0
Oct. 11 at West Kent. W 24-7
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE
Oct. 25 Eastern Mich W 38-16
Nov. 1 OPEN DATE
Nov. 5 Northern Illinois W 45-14
Nov. 11 at Miami Univ. W 31-16
Nov. 19 at Central Mich W 31-24
Nov. 25 Western Mich W 45-22
Dec. 5 MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
Buffalo L 42-24
GMAC Bowl
Jan. 6 Tulsa L 45-13

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7
2007 Record: 7-6

Aug. 30 Miami Univ. L 14-13
Sept. 8 at East Mich W 38-16
Sept. 15 at Navy W 34-31 OT
Sept. 22 at Nebraska L 41-40
Sept. 29
Buffalo W 49-14
Oct. 6 Central Mich L 58-38
Oct. 13 W Kentucky W 35-12
Oct. 20 at West Mich W 27-23
Oct. 27 at Illinois L 28-17
Nov. 3 at Indiana L 38-20
Nov. 13
Toledo W 41-20
Nov. 24 at No Illinois W 27-21
International Bowl
Jan. 5 Rutgers L 52-30

Dec. 5
2008 MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
Buffalo 42 ... Ball State 24

Ball State rolled up 503 yards of total offense, but five turnovers with major fumbling problems, helped Buffalo pull away to a stunning blowout. Up 17-14 and driving for an almost certain third quarter touchdown, Ball State suffered utter disaster as Nate Davis had the ball knocked out of his hands, Mike Newton picked it up and returned it 92 yards for a UB touchdown and the lead. Just over three minutes later, Sherrod Lott picked up a Ball State fumbled snap and took it 74 yards for a score. The Cardinals tried to mount a late comeback with a 22-yard Louis Johnson touchdown catch, but UB recovered the onside kick and took it 25 yards in four plays with James Starks running for a one-yard score to put the game on ice. Naaman Roosevelt caught touchdown passes from two, 39 and eight yards out for the Bulls to keep pace early before the defense took over with the takeaways. MiQuale Lewis ran for 131 yards with two short touchdown runs.
Player of the game: Buffalo WR Naaman Roosevelt caught ten passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 19-28, 206 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 19-82, 1 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 10-116, 3 TD
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 31-48, 351 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 30-131, 2 TD. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 13-141
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Everything worked on offense against Buffalo ... except for the center exchange. Nate Davis got the attack moving and MiQuale Lewis cranked out yards in bunches, but the five turnovers turned out to ruin the dream season. Yeah, unfortunately, falling short in the MAC title game does all but ruin all the great things that have happened until now because this was the goal; going unbeaten was just a stunningly nice by product. Now the team needs to use this as motivation to come out roaring for the bowl game, and now it's not time to be too proud to go to Boise if the offer is still possibly on the table. Now is the time to take on anyone and show that this was a fluke.

Nov. 25
Ball State 45 … Western Michigan 22
Ball State came out roaring with an early 14-0 lead on the first of MiQuale Lewis's three touchdown runs and a 40-yard touchdown catch from Louis Johnson. WMU rallied back to tie it on a nine-yard Jan Nunez scoring grab, but the Cardinals ended it with a 24-point run on short touchdown runs from Nate Davis and Lewis along with a 35-yard interception return for a score from Trey Lewis. Lewis put the game away with a one-yard touchdown run with just under five minutes to play.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 32 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught four passes for 30 yards.
Stat Leaders: Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 17-25, 273 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 32-120, 3 TD. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 5-63
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 15-32, 145 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Aaron Winchester, 14-77. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 6-84
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ball State did it, going unbeaten with the best season in school history. While the BCS isn't even in the discussion, now the real work begins to make a great season special. 12-0 doesn't mean much if the Cardinals can't beat Buffalo for the MAC title. Win that, and then the bowl possibilities become interesting. It'll be interesting to see who the team MVP turns out to be. Against Western Michigan, MiQuale Lewis once again showed how he has made this team great, but it's still Nate Davis who makes the engine run. He was flawless against the Broncos.

Nov. 19
Ball State 31 … Central Michigan 24
Ball State scored the final 14 points of the game as Nate Davis connected with Louis Johnson, who spun out of a tackle, for a 45-yard touchdown, and with Briggs Orsbon for an 11-yard score. Central Michigan had one final shot, which was turned into two as an interception was ruled incomplete, giving Dan LeFevour and the Chippewas new life. But after driving the team deep into BSU territory, LeFevour was picked off by Sean Baker to preserve the win for the Cardinals. LeFevour threw two touchdown passes, while Davis threw for four scores in the excellent, see-saw battle.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 28 times for 177 yards
Stat Leaders: Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 30-44, 345 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dan LeFevour, 24-75. Receiving: Antonio Brown, 8-61
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 12-22, 175 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 28-177. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 4-30, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ball State was pushed in a terrific game against Central Michigan, but in the end, Dan LeFevour blinked and Nate Davis didn't. Davis didn't have his best game, but he threw darts when he had to and he got his team into the end zone in crunch time. Actually, MiQuale Lewis was able to run to get the team into positions to score, and Davis closed the deal. The defensive front seven had a nightmare of a time with LeFevour, but it got just enough pressure when needed late in the game. Now it's on to another showdown with Western Michigan on tap. However, unlike the Central Michigan game, Ball State is now tested. It knows it can be pushed and then still come through.

Nov. 11
Ball State 31 … Miami University 16
Miami hung tough in a wild second quarter as Chris Givens caught a 49-yard touchdown pass to pull within 14-13, and then it was all Ball State as MiQuale Lewis ran for 165 yards and two one-yard touchdowns and Nate Davis ran for a one-yard score and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Darius Hill. The Cardinals had a hard time closing out, MU kept pushing and just missed on what looked would've been a sure touchdown catch late in the game, but Ball State held on allowing just three points in the second half.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 26 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught two passes for 51 yards
Stat Leaders: Miami Univ. - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 25-42, 254 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Thomas Merriweather, 18-65. Receiving: Jamal Rogers, 5-61
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 17-24, 289 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 26-165, 2 TD. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 7-97
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... MiQuale Lewis was running it, Nate Davis was passing it, and Ball State is on its way to the showdown against Central Michigan. There was no need to spread the ball around too much against Miami University, Davis and Lewis were on from the start, while the defense held up tough in the second half when needed. There were two turnovers, but no penalties as the Cardinals didn't do much of anything wrong. MU came out fired up and hitting, and Ball State kept the dream season alive.

Nov. 5
Ball State 45 … Northern Illinois 14
Ball State held a 21-0 first half lead on two of Nate Davis's four touchdown passes, including the first of two scoring grabs from Darius Hill and a 25-yard catch from Daniel Ifft. The NIU offense turned it over twice and struggled to get going, failing to get into the end zone until the final 1:34 on a 40-yard Ricky Crider run. Ball State outgained NIU 529 yards to 275.
Player of the game: Ball State QB Nate Davis completed 18-of-22 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran for 10 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 14-22, 115 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Chandler Harnish, 12-59, 1 TD. Receiving: Connor Flahive, 4-24
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 18-22, 300 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 19-119, 1 TD. Receiving: Louis Johnson, 6-165, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Beating NIU, especially the way Ball State did it in dominant fashion, was far better than it might appear on the surface. Nate Davis was flawless and the ground game provided a near-perfect balance. Just as important was the play of the defense that forced the NIU offense off the field time and again on three-and-outs. Now comes the key two-game road trip with the tune-up against Miami University before the showdown against Central Michigan. At the moment, BSU appears to be in perfect form as is.

Oct. 25
Ball State 38 … Eastern Michigan 16
Ball State jumped out to a 24-0 lead on two Nate Davis touchdown passes and a wide open four-yard scoring grab on a receiver pass from Briggs Orsbon. Eastern Michigan fought to get back in it with two short Andy Schmitt touchdown throws, but a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown from Trey Buice ended any comeback hopes.
Player of the game: Ball State SS Sean Baker made 12 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and two broken up passes
Stat Leaders: Eastern Michigan - Passing: Andy Schmitt, 28-49, 309 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Terrence Blevins, 13-33. Receiving: Tyler Jones, 11-120, 1 TD
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 17-31, 241 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 10-75, 1 TD. Receiving: Madaris Grant, 5-92
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ball State's offense is getting all the respect, mainly because Nate Davis has been fantastic and MiQuale Lewis continues to run the ball effectively, but the defense and special teams are coming up big, too. Against Eastern Michigan, the defense gave up a few yards, but didn't start to break until the outcome was basically in doubt. Punter Chris Miller continues to kick at an All-America level averaging 54 yards a shot this week. He kept EMU pinned deep on the rare occasions the Cardinals had to kick.

Oct. 11
Ball State 24 … Western Kentucky 7
Ball State wasn't its normally explosive self, but it got by Western Kentucky with two Nate Davis touchdown passes and a one yard MiQuale Lewis scoring run on the way to a 24-0 lead. The Cardinal defense kept the Hilltoppers off the board until the final minute with Jake Gaebler caught a 20-yard touchdown pass. BSU forced three turnovers, but only outgained WKU by three yards.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 18 times for 112 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Western Kentucky - Passing: David Wolke, 17-29, 161 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Bobby Rainey, 8-59. Receiving: Jake Gaebler, 10-100, 1 TD
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 14-22, 155 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 18-112, 1 TD. Receiving: Louis Johnson, 4-56, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ball State might have been a bit sloppy against Western Kentucky, and there might not be the big numbers from the passing game that the team might like, but the running game and defense continue to pick up the slack. The Cardinals have won their last two games by a combined score of 55-7 and have won every game by double-digits. With a home date against Eastern Michigan up next, the trend should continue.

Oct. 4
Ball State 31 … Toledo 0
Ball State kept the unbeaten season rolling as Nate Davis ran for a one-yard score and MiQuale Lewis ran for two short scores in the easy win. Cory Sykes added a bit of flash with a 57-yard run in the fourth quarter to top things off. Toledo didn't have anything offensively with just 157 yards and 14 on the ground. Ball State had a near-perfect balance with 242 passing yards and 240 on the ground.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 31 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 18-30, 242 yds
Rushing:
MiQuale Lewis, 31-157, 2 TD. Receiving: Birggs Orsbon, 6-76
Toledo
- Passing: Aaron Opelt, 21-31, 143, 1 INT
Rushing:
Morgan Williams, 10-12. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 7-56

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... How good is MiQuale Lewis? Nate Davis didn't even through a touchdown pass and Ball State blew away a bad Toledo team with ease thanks to Lewis and the running game. Talk about humming on all cylinders, the run defense was swarming, the offensive line was pounding away, and Davis was solid, if not spectacular. Everything is clicking, and now comes an apparent pair of layups against Western Kentucky and Northern Illinois. If the team keeps playing this well, there shouldn't be any shot at a loss until the road trip to Central Michigan in mid-November. There's no excuse to not be 10-0.

Sept. 27
Ball State 41 … Kent State 20
Inspired by the loss of Dante Love to a spinal injury the week before, Ball State rolled up 423 yards of total offense with MiQuale Lewis running for three short scores and Nate Davis throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Myles Trempe on the way to an easy win. Kent State got two Julian Edelman touchdown runs, the first a 12-yard dash in the second quarter, but it wasn't enough to stop a Cardinal attack that got up 31-7 in the third quarter.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis rushed 23 times for 116 yards and three touchdowns, while catching three passes for 39 yards.
Stat Leaders: Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 13-24, 177 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Julian Edelman, 18-70, 2 TDs. Receiving: Shawn Bayes, 3-96, 1 TD
Ball State
- Passing: Nate Davis, 23-35, 265 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
MiQuale Lewis, 23-116, 3 TDs. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 10-112
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Ball State isn't going to replace Nate Davis. He wasn't just an elite receiver, but he was the heart-and-soul. Credit Briggs Orsbon for stepping into a tough situation and producing with ten catches for 112 yards in Love's place. MiQuale Lewis has added another dimension to the attack, running for 116 yards and three scores against Kent State, but this is still Nate Davis's offense. He's in total command. A 5-0 start should only get better if Toledo, next week's opponent, plays like it did against FIU.

Sept. 20
Ball State 42 … Indiana 20
It was a see-saw battle for a half with Kellen Lewis bringing the Hoosiers within one on a one-yard touchdown run to make it 21-20, and then it was all Ball State as Sean Baker took a Lewis interception 40 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute to go in the first half. MiQuale Lewis ran for two short scores in the fourth quarter as Ball State pulled off the surprising blowout. Lewis finished with 166 yards and four touchdown runs, while Nate Davis connected with Myles Trempe for a 45-yard score. Indiana got a 31-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Nick Polk and two Austin Starr field goals, but the offense sputtered in the second half. The only bad thing that happened for Ball State was the loss of star receiver Dante Love to an injury. He had to be carted off the field and taken to the hospital after experiencing tingling and numbness following a big hit.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 29 times for 166 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Ball State
- Passing: Nate Davis, 16-25, 239 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 29-166, 4 TD. Receiving: Darius Hill, 5-69
Indiana
- Passing: Kellen Lewis, 11-25, 159 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Kellen Lewis, 25-148, 1 TD. Receiving: Andrew Means, 4-103
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Now Ball State is for real. Fine, so beating Indiana isn't going to make Cardinal fans start booking a trip to Miami, but this was a real win over a Big Ten school that's good enough to go to a bowl game. Ball State didn't just beat the Hoosiers, it beat them up with the running game while the defensive front did a great job of keeping the IU running game in check. Now the pressure is really on. Ball State should be favored in every game the rest of the way, including the road trip to Central Michigan.

Sept. 13
Ball State 41 … Akron 24
Ball State broke open a 10-10 tie with 21 straight points and a 28-7 run with a 33-yard Sean Baker fumble return for a touchdown, two short scoring runs from MiQuale Lewis, and a 25-yard touchdown catch from Darius Hill. Nate Davis threw two touchdown passes for the Cardinals. Akron got touchdown runs from Alex Allen and Andrew Johnson, but four Chris Jacquemain interceptions, with three picked off by Sean Baker, proved to be too costly.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis rushed 28 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns, catching four passes for 35 yards, & Sean Baker made nine tackles, three interceptions and recovered a fumble.
Stat Leaders: Ball State
- Passing: Nate Davis, 24-36, 300 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 28-154, 2 TDs. Receiving: Dante Love, 7-97
Akron
- Passing: Chris Jacquemain, 21-44, 269 yds, 1 TD, 4 INTs
Rushing: Andrew Johnson, 7-50, 1 TD. Receiving: Deryn Bowser, 8-117
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Nate Davis got his 300 yards against Akron, and the passing game was more than efficient, but this win was about the running game and the defense. MiQuale Lewis kept the Zip defense on its heels, while Sean Baker and the Cardinal defense kept forcing mistakes. The Akron offense wasn't on the field. BSU held on to the ball for 35:45.  

Sept. 5
Ball State 35 ... Navy 23
Nate Davis and Dante Love hooked up for three touchdown passes from 61, 6, and 8 yards out, and Darius Hill caught a 35-yard fourth quarter touchdown pass, as Ball State threw its way past Navy. The Midshipmen got three first half field goals from Matt Harmon before Jarod Bryan ran for two touchdowns, but the Cardinal defense pitched a shutout over the final 28 minutes. Navy ran for 346 yards and Ball State threw for 326.
Player of the game: Ball State QB Nate Davis completed 21 of 28 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions
Stat Leaders: Navy - Passing: Jarod Bryant, 6-11, 67 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Shun White, 13-128. Receiving: Tyree Barnes, 3-27
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 21-28, 326 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 21-114. Receiving: Dante Love, 9-165, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Nate Davis is a major playmaker. Ball State took some big shots from Navy and its running game, but Davis got time, Dante Love did whatever he wanted to do against the Midshipman secondary, and the team looked like the MAC title contender that it is. While Davis will get all the hype, the running game worked, too, thanks to a nice day from MiQuale Lewis. The more balanced the attack can be going into Indiana next week, the better.

Aug. 28
Ball State 48 ... Northeastern 14
Nate Davis was in midseason form throwing for three first half touchdown passes including a 49-yarder to Dante Love. Love also ran for a two-yard score, while MiQuale Lewis and Cory Sykes ran for short scores. Northeastern was never in the game getting a 20-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter and a ten-yard touchdown catch with 38 seconds to play.
Player of the game: Ball State QB Nate Davis completed 21 of 24 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Northeastern - Passing: Anthony Orio, 14-30, 149 yds
Rushing: Alex Broomfield, 18-62. Receiving: Chris Plum, 6-89
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 21-24, 290 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 11-95, 1 TD. Receiving: Dante Love, 9-171, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The offense was humming on all cylinders against Northeastern. Nate Davis got time and he picked apart the Husky defense, while RB MiQuale Lewis appeared fine on his formerly injured knee. Dante Love was unstoppable and gave future opponents something to think about by running three times for 22 yards and a score. The Cardinals might try to get him the ball even more. Northeastern got down early and had to start throwing, but give credit to the BSU run defense for stuffing the ground game from the start.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Scott Kovanda P 6-3 190 Hartland, Mich. (Detroit Catholic Central) 
Earned two letters in football for Coach Tom Mack . . . managed 40 punts for a 39.0 average as a senior . . . tallied 82 punts for a 41.5 average in career . . . named team's Specialist of the Year as a senior


Potential Instant Impact Players

Kyle Hoke S/LB 5-11 190 Sugar Land, Texas (Clements) 
Competed in football for Coach Jeff Hulme . . . helped team to a 13-1 record as a senior . . . helped the Rangers to a 10-0 start for the first time in school history . . . all-district linebacker as a sophomore and all-district free safety as a junior and senior . . . managed 99 tackles with two interceptions as a sophomore and 110 tackles with two INTs as a junior

Austin Holtz OL 6-5 290 Holt, Mich. (Holt) 
Earned three letters in football for Coach Mike Smith . . . also lettered three seasons in basketball . . . Helped team to a 10-1 record as a senior and a 28-5 mark in career . . . helped Holt to four straight conference championships and a district championship as a senior . . . helped team to 26 consecutive wins and four top-10 rankings in the Associated Press Poll . . . all-state as a senior . . . all-conference as a junior and senior


2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: The Cardinals had the league's third best offense and the number one passing attack last year, and now QB Nate Davis leads the way with all 11 starters returning. The defense had issues, but it gets eight starters back. If that wasn't enough, P Chris Miller might be the best in America while the kicking combination of Ian McGarvey and Jake Hogue is solid. In other words, this is a loaded team that has to think MAC title or bust. Three of the non-conference games are against Navy, Indiana and Western Kentucky.
Why to be grouchy: There isn't much. As long as Davis is healthy and gunning, all the pieces are there for this to be the best season in Cardinal history. The defense has to be far better, and while the O will pick up the slack in shootouts, the front seven has to be far more physical against the run and do a better job of getting into the backfield.
The number one thing to work on is: Getting more from the defensive line. The run defense allowed 204 yards per game and only generated 66 tackles for loss. The secondary struggled and that's mostly because there wasn't enough pressure generated. B.J. Hill and Trey Lewis are solid corners, and if there's a little more help from the front seven, they'll shine.
Biggest offensive loss: C Dustin Brown
Biggest defensive loss: DE Cortlan Booker
Best returning offensive player: QB Nate Davis, Jr.
Best returning defensive player: LB Bryant Haines, Sr.

2007 Recap
Recap: For the first time since 1996, Ball State finished a season above .500 and in a bowl game, riding the right arm of QB Nate Davis and the MAC's most prolific passing attack to seven wins.  While the defense rarely held up against better competition, Davis was able to overcome, throwing 30 touchdown passes to just six interceptions with the help of all-league receivers Dante Love and Darius Hill.  Even in losing regular season games to Nebraska, Illinois, and Indiana, Ball State performed admirably, nearly stunning the Huskers in Lincoln on Sept. 21.                

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Nate Davis

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Bryant Haines

Biggest Surprise: DE Brandon Crawford.  A 31-year old former Marine, Crawford developed into one of the defensive leaders and the Cardinals' most reliable pass rusher.  After playing sparingly in 2006, he set the standard in Muncie with 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks.     

Biggest Disappointment: The Cardinals were every bit as potent as the Huskers in September, but fell one point short in a lost opportunity to make a resounding national statement.  Ball State ripped the home team for more than 600 yards of offense, but could only claim a moral victory after missing the potential game-winning field goal in the final seconds.    

Looking Ahead: Led by Davis, the entire offense returns in 2008, a frightening thought for MAC defensive coordinators.  If the Cardinal defense makes even modest progress next fall, Ball State will be a season-long factor in the race with Central Michigan to win the West Division.

 

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