Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Beef: if it's not what's for dinner, it is what's for Friday night bowl game enjoyment. Beef O'Brady, to be exact. As in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl, featuring Central Florida and Ball State
The bowl season rolls on with tonight's Beef O'Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Central Florida Golden Knights (9-4, 7-1 C-USA) travel across their home state for a matchup with the Ball State Cardinals (9-3, 6-2 MAC).
I don't know about you, but when I hear "Ball State," I can't help but think of Terrell Suggs. Yeah, I know, Suggs went to Arizona State. Or did he?!?
I did the research, however, and Ball State University is not the same thing as "Ball So Hard University." BSU is in Muncie, Indiana; BSHU is...well, it's everywhere, kind of like Strayer.
But back to business. The Beef O'Brady's Bowl. The Worldwide Leader gives us a preview:
UCF made its first trip to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in 2009, suffering a 45-24 loss to Rutgers. The Knights will play in this game for the final time as a C-USA member as they head to the Big East for next season, but they may be back given the bowl's affiliation with that conference.
The high-scoring Knights, averaging 35.2 points, are led by Blake Bortles, who threw for 2,787 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The bruising Murray has powered the ground game with 1,035 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, though he failed to reach 100 yards in the last three games after a four-game stretch in which he ran for at least 117 each time.
UCF has five players that have run for at least 162 yards and it has scored 31 touchdowns on the ground -- seven by Bortles.
UCF will be facing something of a mirror image in Ball State, which is averaging only 0.2 fewer points than the Knights. The Cardinals' Keith Wenning has passed for 2,878 yards, 22 TDs and 10 INTs, while sophomore Jahwan Edwards has rushed for 1,321 yards and 14 scores.
Edwards has been particularly effective during Ball State's win streak, averaging 131.0 yards with nine touchdowns in the six games. He ran for three TDs to power the Cardinals past Miami of Ohio 31-24 in their regular-season finale Nov. 23.
Ball State won without Wenning, who suffered an ankle injury while catching a pass against Ohio on Nov. 14. His status for the bowl game is uncertain.
The junior has posted a 143.8 passer rating in his last five contests. The Cardinals also lost Wenning's backup Kelly Page in the third quarter against Miami, leaving freshman Kyle Kamman to make his collegiate debut.
If Wenning and Page can't go, Ball State will likely lean even more heavily on its powerful ground attack, which averages 214.3 yards. Along with Edwards, the Cardinals have Horactio Banks, who's rushed for 585 yards in 10 games.
Enjoy the game. I'm going to look for a Beef O'Brady's.