Ball State vs. Wyoming: Game Preview, How to Watch, Livestream, Odds, Prediction
The Cowboys head home to face their second tough MAC opponent in as many weeks.
Wyoming looks to continue the momentum of a 2-0 start.
WEEK 3: Ball State Cardinals (1-1) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (2-0)
WHEN: Saturday, September 18th – 2:00 PM MDT/1:00 PM PDT
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, WY
RADIO: The Wyoming broadcast can be found throughout the state on the affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network, including flagship 1240 AM (KFBC) in Cheyenne. The Ball State Broadcast can be listened to over radio or internet streaming through WLBC 104.1 FM.
SERIES RECORD: The Cowboys and Cardinals have never previously met.
LAST WEEK: Ball State was defeated on the road by #10 Penn State, 44-13. Wyoming won a road matchup against Northern Illinois, 50-43.
GAME NOTES: Wyoming
ODDS: Wyoming -6
SP+ PROJECTION: Wyoming by 8
FEI PROJECTION: Wyoming by 4.1
Wyoming returns home after holding off a fourth quarter comeback against the Northern Illinois Huskies in week two. Wyoming led in the game 42-16 with six minutes left in the third quarter, only for Northern Illinois to score 27 unanswered points to go up 43-42 with a little less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter. For the second week in a row, the Wyoming offense, led by Sean Chambers, put together a game winning drive, culminating in a nine-yard touchdown run by Chambers. Wyoming comes back to War Memorial Stadium this week to face a MAC opponent for the second time in as many weeks.
Ball State is coming off a tough road loss to tenth ranked Penn State in what was a near capacity game that reported over 105,000 spectators. The Cardinals will go from one hostile environment last week to a different type of hostile environment in Wyoming, with War Memorial Stadium sitting at 7220 ft elevation.
Here is how Wyoming can put away Ball State this weekend in Laramie.
Three Keys to a Cowboy Victory
1. Open up the Passing Game
Wyoming has been on a mission under offensive coordinator Tim Polasek to open up the passing game, and this past week we got to see the fruits of those efforts, as the Wyoming offense put up 50 points on the road against NIU. Sean Chambers—for the second week in a row—set a new career high in passing yards, finishing 13/23 for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns. I will be the first to admit that these stats don’t seem impressive until you consider that Wyoming scored more passing touchdowns last week than they did in the entire 2020 season. R-SO Isaiah Neyor, who had never scored a touchdown for Wyoming, scored with two receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown against NIU. Super Senior Ayden Eberhardt has also been a big target for the offense this year, averaging 60 receiving yards per game so far this season, and has been a favorite target and big play threat for Chambers. Wyoming would do well to get these two players going early and often.
This season, Ball State’s defense has struggled against the pass, allowing an average of 310 yards per game through the air, including a 367 yard game from Western Illinois. Ball State is giving up an average of 8.4 yards per passing attempt. Wyoming has averaged 8.2 yards per passing attempt this year, and with some consistent play from Sean Chambers, should have no problem moving the ball.
2. Win the Turnover Battle
Ball State’s Defense has been suspect for the past two years, even while winning the MAC last season, but one thing that they have been very successful at is creating turnovers. For the 2020 season they had a plus 8 turnover margin. The Arizona Bowl was no exception, when Ball State played Mountain West Champion San Jose State and had 4 interceptions against the Spartans en route to a 34-13 victory.
The Cowboys have a plus 3 turnover margin so far this year, and need to keep this trend going this week against Ball State. Winning the turnover battle will go a long way towards winning this game, and the team that wins the turnover battle will most likely come out on top.
3. Get after the Quarterback
Ball State has only given up one sack so far on the year, and quarterback Drew Plitt has enjoyed clean pockets to lead and efficient passing game. The Cardinals are the first team that Wyoming has faced this year that averages more passing plays than rushes. Ball State calls passing plays 52 percent of the time, and this balanced attack should give Chad Muma and the Wyoming defense plenty of opportunities to get to the passer. Wyoming is averaging 2 sacks per game, and those sacks have come at important times in both games so far. This trend is going to continue, with the Wyoming defense racking up 4 sacks this week.
Statistically this game looks like it is shaping up to be a very one-sided game. Ball State is giving up an average of 465 yards per game this year, and as we saw last week the Wyoming offense can take advantage and put up a lot of points. The Cowboy defense is going to right the ship and play a complete four quarter game this week after a near disastrous fourth quarter collapse last week.
Wyoming 35, Ball State 7