Week 6 Preview: Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State
Since Ball State joined the MAC, the Cardinals have won 18 games over 24 trips to Rynearson Stadium.
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There’s no way around it: Homecoming is a must-win game for Eastern Michigan.
The stakes are pretty simple. If EMU (2-3 overall, 0-1 MAC) loses its second MAC West game to open up conference play, the chances of this team finally winning the division outright and going to the MAC title game are very, very slim. Nobody has ever played in the MAC championship after losing two in-division games in a six-team split.
EMU, last week, opened up its conference schedule stronger [on offense] than it played in the tail-end of non-conference play, but a loss is still a loss.
A loss in conference play weighs much heavier than any non-con game could.
Scratch that, a loss to a long-time, natural, in-state rival stings way more than any hit taken in Minnesota.
Or in Jacksonville, Alabama.
Playing in the MAC Championship game, at this point, is the ultimate prize. Winning that game can be talked about once EMU gets there, but that’s still the first task.
And here come the Cardinals.
Those Cardinals, also down 0-1 in the current MAC standings (1-4 overall) but with two more trips to Ford Field than the Eagles have had, won’t come to EMU’s homecoming playing like overwhelmed underdogs (EMU -2.5). Dating back to 1976, in the 24 road trips Ball State has taken to Ypsilanti as a MAC team, the Cardinals have come away with 18 wins while EMU has won just six of those games.
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