2014 College Football Preview: Ball State Cardinals

By Dean Pantazi - 21Alive
By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive

August 29, 2014 Updated Aug 29, 2014 at 10:33 AM EDT

MUNCIE, Ind. (21Alive) - The Ball State football team continues to build on the success of the Pete Lembo era in 2014.

The Cards come off a 10-3 season, a runner-up finish in the Mid-American Conference West Division and a 3-point loss to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl.

Lembo makes it plain it is not a rebuilding year for the Cardinals, but rather just a simple moving on.

"We've got a great bunch of guys," Lembo says. "We've got a lot of returning players both up front and at the skill positions."

Quarterback Ozzie Mann takes over the offense with the graduation of Keith Wenning, who was drafted in the 6th round by the Baltimore Ravens. Behind Mann is running back Jahwan Edwards, who will carry the load of rushing. Edwards ran for more than 1,000 yards his first two seasons in Muncie with 14 touchdowns both years.

The defense returns six starters; however, with only one on the defensive line, new players must step in. Lembo says the defense was strong through camp, which helped bring along the offense.

"We've lost some guys. Every team goes through those changes. The young guys need to step up. The players and the coaches have definitely felt like the younger players have stepped up," linebacker Zack Ryan says.

As a program, Ball State has never won a bowl game in seven tries. Expectations continue to rise for Ball State, including another bowl appearance with hopes of finally notching that postseason win.

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