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Northwestern Opponent Links, Week 4: Ball State Cardinals

Time to study up on Northwestern's Week 4 opponent.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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.