NCF Nation: Steven Schott

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl keys

December, 21, 2012
Three things to watch in tonight's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl between UCF and Ball State:

1. Stopping the run: Both teams have prolific offenses, and it all starts on the ground. Ball State ran for at least 220 yards seven times this season and is led by 1,300-yard back Jahwan Edwards. UCF tailback Latavius Murray has scored a touchdown in eight straight games. The key is whether either defense can make stops and force some third-and-long situations. The Knights have the much better defense statistically, ranking No. 22 nationally in total yards allowed and leading Conference USA in scoring defense. The Cardinals, meanwhile, gave up more than 200 rushing yards and 31.5 points per game, though their defense did improve as the season went on. This game could come down to a defensive stand or two in crunch time.

2. Special teams: UCF has the nation's top kick return man in Quincy McDuffie, but special-teams breakdowns hurt the Knights in their overtime loss to Tulsa in the Conference USA title game. They allowed a punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and had a field goal blocked in the first extra period. Ball State has some impressive specialists of its own. Kicker Steven Schott ranked second in the nation with 24 made field goals, while punter Scott Kovanda was a Ray Guy finalist. All eyes will be on the offenses, but big plays in the kicking game could make the difference.

3. Ball security: Neither team likes giving the ball away. UCF set a school record for fewest turnovers in a season with just 15, while Ball State had only 16 giveaways. The Knights' Murray has gone 386 straight carries without a fumble. UCF was much better than Ball State this year at forcing turnovers, led by ball-hawking safety and C-USA defensive player of the year Kemal Ishmael, who had three interceptions and three forced fumbles this season. Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning was intercepted four times in losses to Clemson and Northern Illinois. In a game where every possession could matter, turnovers could turn the tide.

IU drops third straight to Ball State

September, 16, 2012
Ball State walked away with the upset the last two times it faced off against Indiana, and for most of the game it looked like it would be more of the same. The Hoosiers might've been the first to get on the board with a field goal, but they would spend the next 60 minutes playing catch up to the Cardinals.

But with one second remaining and a 42-yard field goal teed up, it was actually Ball State that had to come back for the win. With the field goal, fifth year senior kicker Steven Schott managed to secure the win for Ball State, 41-39.

And while it was the final kick that gave the Hoosiers their first loss of the season, it was Ball State's 440 yards against the Indiana defense that led to it.

The Cardinals were about as balanced as it gets with 45 passing attempts and 44 rushes. Junior quarterback Keith Wenning was 26-of-44 and threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. He methodically worked through the offense and Indiana never seemed to really get into the kind of rhythm that is expected when a Big Ten school plays a mid-major school.

And while the momentum and scoring during the game was back and forth, one trend that seemed to permeate the Hoosiers’ entire game was their penalties, 12 in total which added up to 127 yards.

So even though Indiana sophomore quarterback Cameron Coffman showed improvement from last week after stepping in for Indiana sophomore Tre Roberson, who will be out the rest of the season with a broken leg, his progress seemed to be nullified by penalties elsewhere.

The Hoosiers now have a week off before they head into conference play at Northwestern before hosting Ohio State and Michigan State.