Northwestern did fine against the (Stanford) Cardinal in Week 1. Now, in Week 4, the Wildcats welcome the (Ball State) Cardinals to Ryan Field as NU tries to improve to 4-0 heading into the Big Ten portion of its schedule.
Here are some last-minute notes and links on the Wildcats' latest ornithological opponent:
- Ball State won its conference opener on Saturday over Eastern Michigan by a score of 28-17. Freshmen led the way for the Cardinals, as first-year running James Gilbert contributed two touchdowns on the ground while quarterback Riley Neal completed 24 of 28 passes for 194 yards en route to the win.
- Here are some highlights of the win from the Ball State perspective.
- Cardinals coach Pete Lembo held a press conference a few days ago, discussing his team's important win while also looking ahead to the weekend matchup with Northwestern. Lembo, a New York native, was the head coach at Lehigh and Elon before taking the job in Muncie with Ball State.
- Sam Barloga, of fellow SBNation blog HustleBelt, which covers the MAC, writes that Ball State had its best performance of the young season on Saturday. The Cardinals didn't do a great job defending against VMI (a win) or Texas A&M (a loss) but stepped up against Eastern Michigan, holding the Eagles' quarterback, Brogan Roback, to an ugly QB rating of 27.6.
- Ball State assistant coach Justin Lustig was interviewed about the team's special teams and running back units, both of which he has a hand in coaching. If you're interesting in learning more about the Cardinals, it's four minutes and probably worth your time.
- Lembo also appeared on the official Ball State Sports Podcast to talk about his life and how he ended up at Ball State. Not really game-related, but an interesting listen on how a Division I college coach got his job.
- There was some quarterback controversy surrounding the Cardinals this week, as the Muncie Free Press noted, but it was cleared up on Tuesday when Lembo announced Neal, the freshman signal-caller, will get the start this Saturday over sophomore Jack Milas.