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Ball State Game Is A Must-Win For Army

After slipping to Yale in overtime, Army hosts fellow 1-3 team Ball State. Both teams will be looking to capitalize on this match up as they continue the push for bowl eligibility.

Army will need a strong showing from their backfield this Saturday to avoid a 1-4 start on the season.
Army will need a strong showing from their backfield this Saturday to avoid a 1-4 start on the season.
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Michie Stadium, West Point, NY

When: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST

TV: CBS Sports Network

Vegas Odds: Army -2.5

Well, this looks familiar. Army will head into this game favored yet again and hopes to hang on to secure their second win of the season. New Army defensive coordinator Jay Bateman will recognize some familiar faces across the field as his former team, the Ball State Cardinals, will come into West Point this Saturday afternoon. Both teams sport a disappointing 1-3 record, with 4 of the 6 combined losses coming by less than a touchdown. Army and Ball State have both played in some heart-breakers this season, and one team will endure yet another disappointment come Saturday evening.

Ball State enters the weekend with a slightly better passing attack and scoring defense than Army, but a much worse rushing defense and scoring offense. Coming off a loss to Toledo where they scored a season high 23 points (vs FBS opponents), Ball State should not pose too much of a threat to Army offensively. QB Ozzie Mann has not put up impressive numbers in any game this season, as he has only thrown 135 passes, completing just over half for 5 TDs and 1 pick. The Cardinals do not fare much better on the ground, where the backfield duo of Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks average almost 5 yards a carry each, but only Edwards has reached the end zone. He has 2 TD carries this season.

Army's biggest opponent this year has been finishing games. Whether it has been the turnover bug, offensive drives stalling, the defense not getting off the field, or a combination of the three, Army has not shown any signs of life in the 4th quarter. It doesn't help that back Terry Baggett and Larry Dixon have been non-factors since the Stanford game. If Army wants to win this game, they will need to limit turnovers, sustain long drives, and finish. Finish plays, finish drives, and finish the game.

Match Up To Watch: Army backs vs Ball State front 7

No one is going to prepare for Army by focusing on their passing attack. While Angel Santiago has shown he can make key throws, the bread and butter of this Black Knights team is the triple option. Ball State will have to choose one aspect of the triple option, the dive, keep, or pitch, to contain Army. It will come down to Santiago or A.J. Schurr, depending on who has the most favor with head coach Jeff Monken this week, to recognize what the Cardinals are doing and keep the offense flowing. Going back to Week 1, Army looks scary good when they have all cylinders firing. Their kryptonite each week has been falling apart in the 4th quarter, however Ball State is the perfect opponent to right the ship.

Prediction: Army 35, Ball State 10