MUNCIE, Ind. – A new season looms on the horizon as Ball State hosts Toledo for the Mid-American Conference opener on Saturday. Kick-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET inside Scheumann Stadium.
“We are delighted to have our first conference game this weekend against Toledo, especially at Scheumann Stadium,” said the Ball State head coach. Mike Neu noted. “I like what I saw on the training ground this week, and I like the attitude and the state of mind.”
Despite a start to the year 1-2, the Cardinals have focused on managing affairs in the league. And it was noticed immediately after returning from Wyoming last weekend.
“I know what we are capable of,” added Neu. “When I saw us really fighting in the weight room on Sunday after we came back in the wee hours of the morning last Saturday, it was awesome. The attitude, intensity and energy certainly told me that everyone was in the right place. We know what needs to be cleaned up. We know what needs to be fixed. It’s about taking care of ourselves now. “
There will be a lot of familiarity on the court on Saturday as each team will bring back all but two of last season’s starters, one on either side of the line for Ball State. With a majority of production returning for both teams, the Cardinals and Rockets were set to compete for the West Division title before the start of the 2021 season.
Ball State recently enjoyed success against Toledo, winning the previous two meetings in the past two seasons. However, the Rockets still hold the all-time seed, 24-21-1. Neu and the Cardinals know the importance of this game.
“It’s Ball State-Toledo. It’s MAC’s Game One. We’re both gearing up to make sure we have our best game day stuff.”
The game will air on 104.1 WLBC, online at BallStateSports.com and on the Varsity Network app with the Ball State Radio Network trio of Joel godett, Rich Spisak and Jack McMullen break down the action. The game will also be available on ESPN + with Michael Reghi and Je’Rod Cherry on call.
Inside the series: Toledo
Ball State and Toledo will meet for the 47th time in series history on Saturday. The Cardinals have won the last two games, including last season’s 27-24 triumph inside the Glass Bowl. Ball State had lost four of the previous five matches in Toledo before the 2020 victory.
The Cardinals have won three straight wins over the Rockets on just three occasions in series history, most recently between 2006-08.
On Ball State’s seven previous occasions, the Cardinals are 5-2 against the Rockets in the game after a road victory in Toledo the year before.
Coach Neu in Toledo …
“You pay attention to Bryant Koback, first and foremost. He’s been a very productive runner for a long time at Toledo. They’re going to try to establish the race. It’s important for them because it will do everything else. It will help to involve their playmakers more on the pitch. We expect a heavy dose of Bryant Koback just like we did a year ago and the year before. Toledo has a very balanced attack. . They had guys who were very productive runners. They also like to throw the ball. “
Ball State is 22-24 in his first Mid-American Conference game since joining the conference in 1975. The opener was an important one for the Cardinals in their MAC Championship seasons. Ball State is 4-2 in the Premier League game of its championship seasons, earning wins in 1976, 1978, 1989 and 1993. However, in the Cardinals’ last two winning seasons, Ball State has lost his first conference match (1996, 2020). The Cardinals are 188-169 overall in conference games since joining the MAC.
Ball State is 23-23 in its home opener of the Mid-American Conference. The Cardinals have won the league’s last three home opener games under the direction of the head coach Mike Neu, beating Kent State 52-24 in 2018, Toledo 52-14 in 2019, Eastern Michigan 38-31 in 2020.
To this date
The Cardinals are 6-5 on September 25 in program history, scoring victories in 1931, 1954, 1965, 1971, 1976 and 2004. Ball State faced Toledo once in series history on September 25 and won 27-14 on the road.