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Ball State Cardinals preview

Veteran center Jacob Richard will anchor the Cardinals' offensive line in 2015. Ray Carlin/Icon Sportswire

If the Cardinals hope to surpass the .500 mark again (10–3 in 2013), they’ll have to overcome their lightweight D.

Offense

How the Cardinals beat you: Center Jacob Richard (28 starts) joins four other returners on an OL that allowed 102 zero- or negative-yard rushes (29th in the FBS).

How you beat the Cardinals: Big plays were rare (44 of 20-plus yards, No. 108) and might become rarer. RB Horactio Banks takes over for Jahwan Edwards, Ball State’s all-time leading rusher.

Defense

How the Cardinals beat you: Ball State will call on 2014’s leading tacklers, senior LBs Zack Ryan and Ben Ingle (178 combined), to make plays in space against the MAC’s spread O’s.

How you beat the Cardinals: Senior DT Darnell Smith’s four sacks was a team high on a bad D-line with no push: 92 percent of goal-to-go drives ended in a TD.