Bowl eligibility and an outside shot at the MAC East title are on the line for Miami Ohio on Tuesday night when the RedHawks host Ball State in what will be the final regular season game for both teams.
The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET. While it won’t be broadcast nationally on television anywhere in the US, you can still watch a live stream of the game on your computer, phone or streaming device via ESPN+, the new digital streaming service from ESPN that has coverage of MAC football games during the 2018 season.
You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
If you can’t watch live, all games–including Ball State vs Miami (OH)–that are streamed on ESPN+ are also available to be watched on-demand via ESPN.com or the ESPN app.
There’s plenty on the line here for Miami (OH). Not only would a victory give them six wins and thus make them bowl eligible, but it would move them to 6-2 in conference play and give them an outside shot at winning the MAC East.
Should the RedHawks get a victory on Tuesday night, combined with a Buffalo loss to Bowling Green and Ohio win over Akron on Friday, then Buffalo, Miami (OH) and Ohio would slip into a three-way tie atop the division. In that scenario, all three would be 1-1 in head-to-head games against the other two, so the tiebreaker would come down to record against common opponents in the division, which would vault Miami (OH) to the top and book them a trip to Detroit to take on Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship.
Now, that’s somewhat of a longshot. Buffalo, even on the road, is a 14.5-point favorite against Bowling Green. Still, that sliver of hope should be all the motivation Miami (OH) needs on Tuesday night.
Ball State, meanwhile, will simply look to play the role of spoiler. At 4-7, they’ll go without a bowl game for the fifth season in a row.
For the Cardinals, it’s all about the passing game. Sophomore Drew Plitt has thrown for 598 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions in two games since becoming starter. He was really efficient during a 42-41 overtime win against Western Michigan last week, throwing for 9.9 yards per attempt and three scores.
Nevertheless, Miami (OH) presents a much stiffer defensive challenge (they rank 48th in the nation in yards per pass allowed, while Western Michigan is 107th in the same stat), they should have little trouble carving up a Ball State defense that is 100th in the nation in points per game allowed and 109th in yards per game allowed, they have home-field advantage, and they have much more to play for.
Put it all together, and Miami (OH) are favored by 18 points.