Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Ball State Offense vs. Tulsa DefenseThe Golden Hurricane 3-3-5 defensive scheme has held opponents to a respectable 3.8 yards per carry this year and MLB Mike Bryan is an active run-stuffer who has 112 tackles. However, slowing an efficient Ball State ground game that's led by a talented offensive line should prove difficult for Tulsa. The Cardinals' front five are capable of neutralizing Tulsa's three down linemen at the line of scrimmage and getting into position at the second level. Making matters worse for the Golden Hurricane, 5-foot-6 Cardinals RB MiQuale Lewis does a good job of following his blocks and his height -- or lack thereof -- makes it difficult for linebackers to locate him. In addition, the threat of QB Nate Davis striking deep off of play-action makes stacking the line of scrimmage in an effort to slow Lewis risky at best.
Davis has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 3,446 yards and 26 touchdowns, compared to just seven interceptions, making him one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the FBS. While his poise could be tested by Tulsa's productive pass rush, which brings pressure from all over the field, don't be surprised to see him have one of his best games this season. Ball State has surrendered only 12 sacks this year and that offensive line has done an excellent job of giving Davis enough time to scan the field. Even if the offensive line stumbles at times, Davis has a fairly quick release and Lewis is capable of quickly separating from the coverage when he releases out of the backfield. As a result, Davis should look for TE Darius Hill and true freshman WR Briggs Orsbon when the protection holds up. The 236-pound Hill is fast enough to stretch the field and Orsbon is a crisp route-runner for such a young player.
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