Ball State (1-0) at No. 8 Notre Dame (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Line: Notre Dame by 34½.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
After a highly-charged, 24-17 victory over Michigan, the Fighting Irish hope to maintain the momentum against a new opponent, the instate Cardinals, who had an impressive season opener. Ball State had a school-record 652 total yards in a 42-6 victory over FCS school Central Connecticut State, breaking a nine-game losing streak.
Ball State running attack, led by James Gilbert, vs. Notre Dame defensive front seven. Gilbert, a shifty 5-foot-9, 198-pound redshirt junior, had 100 on 14 carries last week. Ball State ran for 316 total. DE Khalid Kareem (eight tackles) and LB Drue Tranquill helped the Irish hold the Wolverines to 58 yards rushing.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ball State: QB Riley Neal. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound junior, who missed the final nine games of 2017 with a leg injury, completed 23 of 30 passes for 259 yards and 2 TDs in the opener. He has 5,735 yards and 37 TDs in 26 career games at the school.
Notre Dame: MLB Te’von Coney. The leading tackler from 2017, the 6-foot-1, 240-pound senior had a team-high 10 tackles and the key fumble recovery against Michigan.
FACTS & FIGURES
Though they have never met on the gridiron, the two schools, separated by 145 miles, compete often; Ball State stunned then-No. 8 Notre Dame in men’s basketball 80-77 on Dec. 5 . Ball State is Notre Dame’s 146th different opponent . There are 50 players from Indiana on Ball State’s roster, including two from South Bend Adams High School — starting OT Danny Pinter and reserve CB Tavonte’ Malone; Notre Dame has seven with Indiana ties, none from South Bend . Notre Dame is 6-0 vs. Mid-American Conference schools . Mike Neu, the MAC Offensive Player of Year in 1993 as Ball State’s QB, is one of 22 FBS head coaches at alma mater . Ball State roster has nine seniors, second fewest (Illinois has eight) among FBS schools. … Irish coach Brian Kelly beat Ball State three times when he was at Central Michigan.
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