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Published: Friday, 10/2/2009

UT looks to end streak vs. Ball State

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Beckman was on his way back from Savage Hall and his weekly get-together with the Downtown Coaches Association, and the two happened to run into each other on their way to the Larimer Athletic Complex.

Among other things, the pair chatted about the fact that Hill has yet to experience a victory over Ball State in his UT career.

The Rockets are winless in their last three meetings with the Cardinals, something they hope to change when they travel to Muncie, Ind., this weekend.

"Of course that's one of our goals [to beat Ball State] and one of the things we've talked about as a team," Beckman said. "We understand that this is a new era. We're changing things up and doing things different."

In their last matchup, Ball State beat UT 31-0 at the Glass Bowl last season.

This time, however, the Cardinals won't have the services of record-setting quarterback Nate Davis, who opted to forgo his senior year and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers.

Ball State (0-4) has struggled mightily this season, losing to Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) member New Hampshire at home and taking a 50-34 beating at Auburn last week.

Cardinals freshman quarterback Kelly Page is completing just 48 percent of his passes (58 of 120) and has thrown five interceptions and just three touchdowns.

But that hasn't stopped at least one Ball State player from trash talking a bit this week.

Senior running back MiQuale Lewis, who leads the Cardinals with 46 yards per game average on the ground, wrote on his Twitter page Wednesday night, "getting ready for our homecoming game ... easy game against TOLEDO ROCKETS ... first win and first place in the MAC ... #33"

Earlier in the week, the Rockets were taking a more respectful approach to their upcoming opponent.

"We're not taking anybody lightly," UT senior defensive end Skylaar Constant said. "As we've seen the last couple of years, everybody beats up on everybody else in the MAC, and a lot of good teams have gotten knocked out of bowl games because of it."

Off to their best start since 2006, the Rockets (2-2) have surpassed expectations at this point and are eager to keep adding to the momentum they've gained.

Beckman also emphasized that last week's 41-31 win at Florida International was an important building block for the Rockets because it shows they can win on the road.

"We're a different team with a different mind-set now," UT senior receiver Stephen Williams said. "We'll be confident going to play a good Ball State team."

Contact Zach Silka at:

zsilka@theblade.com.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford will not start for No. 8 Oklahoma tomorrow at No. 17 Miami.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops said yesterday that Landry Jones will start for Bradford, who hasn't played since spraining the AC joint in his right, throwing shoulder the first week of the season.

Stoops said Bradford has made progress, but isn't "quite where he needs to be yet." He did not say if Bradford would serve as Jones' backup.



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