News and Notes from Ball State

Will Blackmon

"Expect a big year from junior WILL BLACKMON. The All-Big East cornerback stole the show again on special teams, running back a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown just before halftime."

--As expected sophomore JEFF ROSS received the start at running back over red-shirt freshman L.V. WHITWORTH. Ross ran the ball fifteen times throughout the evening for for a dismal 38 total yards while Whitworth stole the show and played almost the entire second half, running for 129 yards. Unfortunately Whitworth was forced to leave the game with a knee injury, and according to Head Coach Tom O'Brien, he may not return to the field for at least a month.

--That comes as disappointing news, especially after Whitworth emerged as O'Brien's "go to guy" Thursday. O'Brien had faith in the local boy from Milton, Massachusetts, giving him the ball with the score close late in the game. With the Eagles leading 12-11 at halftime, Whitworth gave B.C. the necessary insurance with his 5-yard touchdown run during the first possession in the third quarter. Ross returned to the game after Whitworth's departure, but still seemed to have trouble breaking through the holes left for him by the big offensive line.

--The young line of the Eagles outweighed that of Ball State by almost fifty pounds. The group played a solid four quarters but remains a work in process, especially after junior left-tackle JEREMY TRUEBLOOD'S second half knee injury. Along with Whitworth, the Indianapolis native will miss Saturday night's home opener. There is no return date at this time.

--Expect to see sophomore guard JAMES MARTEN move back over to tackle in place of Trueblood after just making his first start at the guard position. SHADU MOORE will start for Marten at guard.

--Senior quarterback PAUL PETERSON had a lot to prove to the B.C. faithful after beating out fellow classmate QUINTON PORTER for this season's starting role. Peterson completed 12-of-23 passes for 135 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to backup tight-end junior CHRIS MILLER.

--The receiving corps had a quiet night. Looking to have more of a role in this year's offense, senior New Jersey native GRANT ADAMS caught two passes for 25 yards. Leading the receivers on the evening was sophomore JASON LILLY, who caught three passes for 27 yards.

--After last season's problems on special teams it seemed almost unthinkable that O'Brien would be forced to start two true freshman at the punting and kicking positions. JOHNNY AYERS made BC fans cringe after dropping FRANCOIS BROCHU's snap in the endzone after the Eagles went three and out to begin the game. Brochu's snap was right on the money, but Ayers took his eye off the ball. We'll credit the miscue to some typical freshman jitters.

--Ryan Ohliger, fresh out of Newark, Delaware, provided the kicking duties in place of injured 5th year senior MIKE FASSEL. On Sunday, O'Brien praised the young man's improvement on kickoffs in the second half.

--Expect a big year from junior WILL BLACKMON. The All-Big East cornerback stole the show again on special teams, running back a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown just before halftime.

--The Eagles host Big Ten foe Penn State this Saturday night. The 8pm kickoff will be broadcasted nationally on ABC Network.

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