Ball State won seven games in the Mid-American Conference, and only four other times since joining the league in 1975 has that been done.
And for the third consecutive season, Ball State became bowl eligible by winning six games. That feat hasn’t been accomplished in over 20 years.
“It’s been a good year,” Cardinal coach Pete Lembo said recently after his team closed its regular season with a 55-14 beatdown of Miami (Ohio). “We’re going to have a chance to do something else special here, which is to win a bowl game in first time in school history.”
In order to do so, Ball State (10-2) will have to knock off Arkansas State (7-5). The two teams learned on Sunday that they would be squaring off in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 5 (9 p.m. ESPN).
"We are excited about the opportunity to represent the Mid-American Conference against a terrific Arkansas State team in this year’s GoDaddy Bowl,” Lembo said in a release. “The trip to Mobile will be an excellent experience for our team, families and fans. We are very grateful for this opportunity."
The Red Wolves finished as the co-champion of the SunBelt Conference (tied with Louisiana-Lafayette at 5-2) this season and they won this bowl a year ago, as they beat Kent State 17-13. It is the third consecutive season that Arkansas State has played in this bowl and second time for the Cardinals (2009).
Arkansas State got off to a 2-3 start, which included losses at Southeastern Conference-powers Auburn (38-9) and Missouri (41-19), but closed the season with five wins in its final seven games.
These two teams combine for nearly 70 points per game offensively, so the reputation of this game being an entertaining one should continue, according to bowl leadership.
“We’re pleased that Ball State has accepted our invitation to return to Mobile for the bowl game,” GoDaddy Bowl president Jerry Silverstein said. “Ball State has been challenging their opponents on both sides of the ball and we think this match-up will be another exciting one for Mobile, the universities and the fans.”