Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl
Ball State (9-3) vs. Central Florida (9-4)
Friday, December 21 at 7:30 pm ET, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
ESPN with Dave Neal (play-by-play), Desmond Howard & Andre Ware (analysts), Cara Capuano (sideline)
Ball State and Central Florida:
Ball State Cardinals (9-3; MAC 6-2); Head Coach Pete Lembo: Career Record 94-45 (12th year); at Ball State 15-9 (2nd year)
Central Florida (9-4;CUSA 7-1); Head Coach George O'Leary: Career Record 111-88 (16th year); at UCF 59-54 (9th year)
Ball State Football Quick Hits:
-Ball State finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record and a 6-2 mark in Mid-American Conference action . . . The Cardinals three losses -- Clemson, Northern Illinois and Kent State -- are to teams that completed the regular season with a combined record of 33-5.
-The nine wins ties for the third most victories in a single season in school history and marks the most wins since 12 in 2008 and 10 in 1978 . . . Ball State football teams also compiled nine wins in 1965, 1975 and 1977.
-Ball State has won six straight games, marking its first six game winning streak since 2008. The Cardinals ended the regular season with wins in their final five Mid-American Conference games and their final four road games.
-The Cardinals' six Mid-American Conference wins in a single season are the most since their 8-0 campaign in 2008 . . . It marks only the second time since 1996 the Cardinals have won at least six league games.
-Ball State tallied a 52-27 victory over Ohio in 2012, and the 52 points were the most in a game since the 2006 season when Ball State defeated Buffalo 55-25 . . . The 25 point margin of victory was the largest for the Cardinals since a 45-14 win over Northern Illinois in 2008 . . . In the win, Ball State managed 588 total yards, which is the fifth highest single game total in school history.
-The Cardinals rushed for over 220 yards in a game seven times in 2012 and four times in their final five contests . . . Ball State rushed for 357 yards vs. Ohio and 329 yards vs. Eastern Michigan to post two games with 300 or more yards rushing in 2012.
-Ball State's defense tallied a season high four sacks in its win over Ohio and in its win at Indiana in 2012.
-The Cardinals win over nationally ranked Toledo (Nov. 6) was the Cardinals first win over one of the country's top-25 teams since 2001 when Ball State defeated the Rockets.
-Ball State is bowl eligible for a second straight season . . . The Cardinals were last bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons in 2007 and 2008 and Ball State played in the International Bowl after the 2007 campaign and the GMAC Bowl after the 2008 season.
-The Cardinals have beaten two teams from the Bowl Championship Series Automatic Qualifying Conferences in the same year for the first time in school history... Ball State defeated Indiana from the Big Ten Conference 41-39 Sept. 15, and tallied a 31-27 win over South Florida from the Big East Conference Sept. 22 . . . The win over Indiana marked the third straight meeting between the two teams the Cardinals have won.
-Ball State has won four games this season with a game-winning score in the final two minutes or overtime... The Cardinals have won three games on their final possession ... Ball State won on a field goal as time expired at Indiana (Sept. 15) and scored the go ahead touchdown with 1:02 left in its victory at home over South Florida (Sept. 22) . . . Ball State tallied a 30-24 overtime win over Western Michigan (Oct. 13) on a 15-yard TD run on the final play of the OT . . . The Cardinals defeated nationally ranked Toledo (Nov. 6) on a 15-yard TD run with 1:43 to play.
• Scouting UCF: The UCF Knights completed the regular season with a 9-4 overall record and a 7-1 Conference USA mark . . . The Knights won the Conference USA East Division Championship and suffered a 33-27 overtime loss to Tulsa in the league championship contest . . . The Knights are averaging 178.7 rushing and 222.0 passing yards per game, while allowing 162.4 rushing and 217.8 passing yards a contest.
• Series vs. UCF: Ball State and UCF have met three times -- the last meeting when the Knights were a member of the Mid-American Conference . . . Ball State won the first meeting -- 31-10 at Ball State in 1996 . . . UCF tallied a 37-14 win at UCF in 1998 . . . The Cardinals won the last meeting by a 21-17 margin Nov. 13, 2004 in Muncie, Ind.
• Ball State ranks second in the MAC and 22nd in the nation in total offense (471.33) ... The Cardinals are 23rd in rushing offense (214.25), 48th in passing offense (257.08) and 31st in scoring offense (35.00) . . . Ball State is third in the MAC in rushing offense, fifth in passing offense and second in total offense . . . The Cardinals are fifth in the nation in first downs (28.3 per game) and 25th in time of possession (31:44) . . . Ball State is tied for 14th in the nation with only six fumbles lost in 2012.
• Ball State ranks 16th nationally in net punting (39.61) and tied for second in punt return yardage defense (0.8) . . . The Cardinals are 26th in the nation and second in the MAC in punt returns (11.06) and second in the MAC and 29th nationally in kickoff returns (23.78) . . . Ball State is first in the MAC and eighth in the nation for fewest sacks allowed per game (0.83).
• Steven Schott is tied for second in the nation with 24 field goals made and second in the nation with 2.0 field goals per game . . . Schott is also tied for second in the MAC and tied for 13th in the nation in scoring with 10.0 points per game.
• Travis Freeman is the NCAA leader among current players for total tackles in a career . . . He has 455 total tackles in his four seasons and is averaging 9.5 tackles per game over his career . . . Notre Dame's Manti Te'o is second among active career leaders with 427 . . . Freeman is fifth in the MAC and 21st in the nation in tackles per game with a 9.92 average.
• Jamill Smith ranks fourth in the MAC and 22nd in the nation with 142.83 all-purpose yards per game in 2012 . . . He is also second in the MAC and 28th in the country in kickoff returns with a 25.84 average . . . Smith is eighth in the MAC and tied for 42nd in the nation with 5.75 catches per contest.
• Willie Snead is tied for 10th in the nation in scrimmage plays of 10 plus yards -- rushing and receiving -- with 54 . . . Snead is 25th in the nation and third in the MAC with 89.17 receiving yards per game . . . He is tied for second in the MAC and tied for 19th in the country with 6.83 receptions per contest.
• Joel Cox is tied for second in the nation in blocked kicks/punts with three . . . Cox has blocked three extra points this season.
• Jahwan Edwards is fifth in the MAC and 21st in the nation with 110.08 rushing yards per game . . . He is also 42nd in the country with 122.08 all-purpose yards per game.
• Jonathan Newsome is second in the MAC and 20th nationally in sacks per game with a 0.85 average . . . He is also third in the MAC and 37th in the country with 1.2 tackles for loss per game.