By the time Ball State and UCF kick off in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl on Friday, the Cardinals will have gone nearly a full month without taking the field against anyone but themselves. That poses a challenge for Ball State, who won six-straight games to end the regular season.
The Ball State Cardinals will enter the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against the Central Florida Knights on Dec. 21 having not played a game in nearly a full month. Trying to overcome the long layoff, as well as the unique set of challenges it causes, has been a main focus point for the Cardinals, writes Ben Breiner of TheStarPress.com.
In addition to not seeing the field against anyone but themselves over the past four weeks, Ball State's players have also dealt with the absence of coaches who have been away on recruiting visits, as well as studying for finals this week. All of that amounts to a strange experience, tight end Dylan Curry told Breiner:
"It's different. I've never been a part of it. It's a new experience for me as it is for most of these guys. ... I'm just going with the flow. Where they tell me to be is where I'm at."
The Cardinals face a tough task in trying to regain their momentum which was lost due to the conclusion of the regular season. Ball State's 31-24 victory over Miami University on Nov. 23 was its sixth-consecutive win, turning a disappointing 3-3 start into a solid 9-3 finish.
Ball State and UCF will kick off the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The game will be televised on ESPN.