IU-Ball State: The Battle for 3rd Best Football School in Indiana

September 18, 2008 – 2:17 pm by TheRiot

We already know. You think you’re too cool to even consider caring about this particular football game on this particular Saturday. Fine. If that’s the way you want to be, fine.

But we’re here to tell you that while you’re salivating over Georgia-Arizona State, Florida-Tennessee, LSU-Auburn, Wake Forest-Florida State, Oregon-Boise State or some other lameass gigantic BCS matchup, you’ll be missing out on a wildly entertaining football game.

Before we wax poetic on this vital in-state rivalry game, let us just say this: How sad is your football program is you’re battling for third place in a state with mediocre and/or rebuilding teams in both Notre Dame and Purdue.

And we’re talking about our alma mater and a school we partied at many times. We have affection for them, but the football programs are just shoddy.

On some Saturdays, though, they do entertain the dozens of fans that pile into the stadium and watch in person.

So let’s get back to the point.

Why, you’re probably asking, is Indiana University versus Ball State University worth watching? We have answers.

Answer No. 1: The quarterback matchup is pretty damn good. Most outsiders probably haven’t heard a whole lot about IU quarterback Kellen Lewis or Ball State quarterback Nate Davis. Lewis isn’t the most efficient passer (53rd in the country) but a season ago he threw for 3,043 yards and 28 touchdowns with just 10 picks. He can also do it with his legs. In IU’s season opener against not-so-good Western Kentucky he ran for 185 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. Awesome.

As for Davis, he’s fifth in the nation in passing efficiency behind some guys like Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel and ahead of Mark Sanchez (USC dig, Phillips!). Davis hasn’t played any real good competition, but let’s face it, IU isn’t that either. He’s completed 75 percent of his passes this year and has thrown for 300 yards in each of the last two games. And he’s got some great weapons to throw to…

Answer No. 2: Ball State is loaded on offense. Loaded might be an overstatement you say? Maybe. Probably not. The Cardinals returned all 11 starters on offense this year and the continuity is quite nice. They’ve put up 35 or more points in all of their games.

Keep these two names in mind: Dante Love and Darius Hill. Love is leading the country in receiving yards and has also scored a couple touchdowns running the ball. Not bad for 5-10, 175. Hill is arguably the best tight end prospect in the county at 6-foot-6 with great athleticism. He’s caught three touchdowns and is Davis’s favorite target in the red zone.

Answer No. 3: Marcus Thigpen will probably run a kick off back for a touchdown. Seriously, it’s a strong probability. In 2006, as a sophomore, Thigpen led the country in kick returns with 723 yards and three touchdowns. One of which, if memory serves, was a 100-yard job against Ball State. Since then, nobody has kicked to him. But if they do, it’s going to the house. Mark it down.

Answer No. 4: Andrew Means. That’s all we need to say, but we’ll elaborate. Means is perhaps the greatest pure athlete in IU history. He’s also in the Rumors and Rants Hall of Fame as of today. Means is a wide receiver and, well, his numbers aren’t that great. But he’s fast, and when he does touch the ball great things happen. He was also drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 11th round as a center fielder and spent his summer playing minor league ball before returning to campus for the football season.

Answer No. 5: Jason Whitlock and Antwaan Randle El will be watching. Yep, the two most notable football alumni from both schools are pretty awesome. Whitlock, like him or not, is one of the most recognizable sports columnist around. He’ll probably be at the game rocking a retro BSU jersey. Randle El is arguably the best player in IU history and currently does his thing for the Redskins. You might also remember he threw a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.

So, there you have it. Watch it and enjoy second tier Indiana college football. It’s fun.

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  1. 3 Responses to “IU-Ball State: The Battle for 3rd Best Football School in Indiana”

  2. That ’06 Ball State game was also the debut of Kellen Lewis as our QB. And since we beat Purdue and all, we win, we get second place in the state. I wish we would schedule Notre Dame too.

    By McD on Sep 18, 2008

  3. “Dozens of fans?”

    “Second tier?”

    Whatever. Feel more important now?

    By Anonymous on Sep 18, 2008

  4. I’m not so sure about second tier… BSU can score with anyone, and I’m not so sure about the Irish considering they shoulda lost to the football powerhouse that is SDSU…

    Whitlock isn’t the most notable BSU player, Blaine Bishop is. I’d argue that Trent Green beats out Randle-EL too…

    By clay on Sep 20, 2008

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