No. 18 Western Michigan looks to keep hopes of an undefeated season and a trip to a major bowl game alive when it visits Ball State on Tuesday in a Mid-American Conference contest. The experienced Broncos, who have not won by fewer than 14 points since a 22-21 season-opening victory over Northwestern, are winners of 10 straight games overall and stand 8-0 for the first time since 1941.
The trio of senior quarterback Zach Terrell, junior running back Jarvion Franklin and senior receiver Corey Davis continue to put up big numbers for Western Michigan, which had to rally from a first-half deficit to defeat Eastern Michigan 45-31 on Oct. 22 in its last contest. Ball State has lost four games, but the Cardinals gave Central Michigan all it could handle in a 24-21 loss on Oct. 8 while sophomore running back James Gilbert rushed for more than 100 yards in four straight contests. The Broncos rolled over Ball State 54-7 last season in Kalamazoo, Mich., but Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck told reporters his team is going to get everybody’s “best shot” the rest of the way. “We have an enormous challenge on Tuesday night,” Fleck said, “and our players understand that.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE HISTORY: Western Michigan opened as big 18.5-point road favorites and on game day that spread is currently down to 17.5. The total hit the betting board at 61 and has yet to move. Check out the complete line history here.
Western Michigan – No significant injuries to report.
Ball State – CB T. Holder (Ques Tues, shoulder), OL S. Bell (Ques Tues, foot), OL A. Poenitsch (Out For Season, leg).
WEATHER REPORT: Perfect night for football at Scheumann Stadium with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low-70’s at kickoff. Winds will be light and there is less than a 5 percent chance of rain showers.
ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN (8-0 SU, 6-2 ATS, 4-4 O/U): Terrell is five short of 2,000 yards passing for the season and has completed 72.2 percent of his attempts with 20 touchdown strikes as opposed to one interception. Davis, who boasts 4,524 yards receiving in his career (739 in 2016) leads a talented trio of senior pass catchers with 49 receptions while Michael Henry has hauled in 40 and Carrington Thompson 26. Franklin rushed for 909 yards and seven scores to key the ground attack and junior linebacker Robert Spillane leads a defense, which gives up 19.3 points per game, with 71 tackles.
ABOUT BALL STATE (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS, 2-6 O/U): Gilbert is 13 short of 1,000 yards rushing for the season and leads the MAC in touchdowns on the ground with 11 – eight in the last four games. Quarterback Riley Neal is second on the team in rushing with 314 yards and boasts another 1,700 passing, but the sophomore has thrown five interceptions in the last three games (nine overall). Junior defensive end Anthony Winbush (six sacks), senior linebacker Sean Wiggins (team-best 69 tackles) and senior safety Corey Hall lead a Cardinals’ defense that must step up after allowing a season-high 35 points to Akron on Oct. 22.
* Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Cardinals are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 conference games.
* Under is 4-0 in Broncos last 4 road games.
* Under is 7-1 in Cardinals last 8 home games.
* Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Ball State.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is backing Western Michigan as huge road favorites at a rate of 60 percent and 72 percent of the totals wagers have been on the Over. View full consensus data here.
Tagged with: feature