Posted: 12:14 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
By Bryan M. Vance
Keith Wenning will conclude his collegiate career in Mobile when he leads the Ball State Cardinals into the GoDaddy.com Bowl against the Sun Belt's Arkansas State Red Wolves. Arkansas State is without their head coach now that he's ran off to Boise State, and the Cardinals could lose Pete Lembo any day now.
The announcement has become official. The Ball St. Cardinals (10-2, 7-1 MAC) will conclude their 2013 season after the calendar flips to 2014. The Cardinals will travel to Mobile, Ala. for the GoDaddy.com Bowl against the Arkansas St. Red Wolves (7-5, 5-2 Sun Belt). The game will be held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Sunday, January 5th at 9:00 p.m. ET, and it will be broadcast nationally by ESPN.
Ball State will be making their second consecutive bowl appearance after losing last December, 38-17, to Central Florida in the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl. The Cardinals seek their first-ever bowl victory in their seventh bowl game, and a victory would also be their 20th total win in the last two seasons. The Cardinals feature a prolific offense led by senior quarterback Keith Wenning, who is 67 yards shy of 4,000 passing yards this season. BSU also has the a top-ten running back (Jahwan Edwards) and two of the MAC's best receivers. That includes Willie Snead, who has 97 catches, 1,429 yards and 14 catches so far in 2013. The Cardinals averaged 40 points per game and never scored fewer than 27 in their 12 regular season contests.
The GoDaddy.com Bowl is one of the MAC's three primary bowl games. Ball State has appeared n the contest once before, following the 2008 season. They lost that game 45-13 against Tulsa and were coached in the bowl by Stan Parrish, who became interim coach after Brady Hoke left for San Diego State following that season's MAC Championship Game.
Arkansas State was 3-4 at mid-season but won four in a row to become bowl-eligible before losing their season finale at Western Kentucky. They defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff (FCS) and Idaho in non-conference play but also lost to Memphis. The Red Wolves have had some success on offense, with seven games of 31 or more points, but they've also struggled at times, with five games of fewer than 20 points (including three of fewer than 10).
ASU is led at quarterback by Adam Kennedy, who has thrown for 2,349 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns. He's one of three rushers with more than 100 carries and 500 yards, and that group is led by Michael Gordon (106 carries, 717 yards and 10 TDs). ASU receivers include Julian Jones (51 catches, 630 yards) and J.D. McKissic (73 catches, 590 yards). Both have four touchdown receptions.
The Red Wolves are playing in their third consecutive GoDaddy.com Bowl. They lost the January 2012 game to Northern Illinois, 38-20, then defeated Kent State 17-13 last January. That win was their first bowl victory in school history.