Ball State has performed well against teams from larger conferences in recent years and they will get another chance on Saturday when they visit the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Cardinals won at Indiana two years ago and last season won at Virginia 48-27 enroute to a 10-3 season.
“Iowa is extremely well-coached and they do what they do in all three phase of the game,” Ball State coach Pete Lembo says. He says they need to find a way to hang in against the Hawks. “This is a game where you have to be very, very technically sound, you just can’t make alot of mistakes. And hopefully you try to make a few plays and be pesky and hange around and keep it close in the 4th qaurter,” according to Lembo.
Ball State opened with a 30-10 win over Colgate and Lembo felt a defense with several new starters performed well. The game against Colgate was the debut for first year starter Ozzie Mann at quarterback. He says they put a lot on the quarterback when it comes to recognizing defenses and getting everyone where they shouldbe.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the defense must eliminate big plays against Ball State. UNI turned several short passes into big gains the Hawkeyes’ 31-23 win on Saturday. “Probably about 4 or 5 plays that stand out for about 230 yards,” Ferentz says. He says it was probably the most displeasing part of the game. Those big plays that kept UNI in contention.
While the defense is looking to eliminate big plays the offense hopes to generate more of its own. “There were a couple of opportunities where we didn’t get the ball down there,” Ferentz says, “…so hopefully as we move forward we will be better at that.”
Iowa used four different running backs against UNI and Ferentz says they are trying to utilize the strengths of all of them. He says they are still working out the rotation and will have to see how it plays out. Iowa will take on a Ball State team that opened with a 30-10 victory over Colgate.
Two years ago Ball State won at Indiana and last year beat Virginia on the road. Kickoff is Saturday at 1 p.m.