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Published: Tuesday, 11/14/2006

Ball State did itself proud vs. Big Ten


Ball State may be the best winless team in the Big Ten Conference.

OK, we jest.

But the Cardinals of the Mid-American Conference have played three Big Ten teams, including No. 2-ranked Michigan, about as tough as a team can without sneaking away with a win in the process.

If the BSU team that shows up at the Glass Bowl tonight at 7 is the same club that lost by one point to Indiana and 10 points at Purdue and eight points at Michigan, the University of Toledo's Rockets should have their hands full.

"We'll be in for a fight," said UT offensive tackle John Greco. "This one should be a good time."

This will be Ball State's first game since throwing a major scare at Michigan 10 days ago, when the Cards came up short on a late, fourth-down play from deep in UM territory before falling 34-26.

"You think the score was impressive? The film was just as impressive," said Toledo coach Tom Amstutz. "Ball State's speed matched up and they certainly belonged on the field with Michigan. They played 'em as well as anybody in the country has. And they played Indiana and Purdue tough, too. This should be a great game."

The Cardinals are 3-6 overall and 3-3 in MAC play. Toledo has won back-to-back games against Akron and Northern Illinois to improve to 4-6 and 2-4 in the league.

"We're gaining some momentum," Amstutz said. "Our younger players are getting more experience and confidence and our older guys are hungry and want to win. We've shown character and we're being rewarded for it. I think we're still a dangerous team."

The top two quarterbacks on Ball State's recruiting wish list a year ago will face off tonight.

The Cards pursued both Nate Davis and Aaron Opelt. They got the former, while the latter chose Toledo. Both true freshmen are the starters for their teams.

Davis has started six straight games and has completed 119 of 186 passes for 1,495 yards and 15 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

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