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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Q&A: View from the other sideline

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Ball State Daily News sports editor Jake Fox 

The Battalion sports editor Carter Karels spoke with Ball State Daily News sports editor Jake Fox abut the upcoming matchup between Texas A&M and BSU.
BATTALION: What is the atmosphere like around Ball State’s campus?
FOX: I think there’s a lot of excitement for it. We play some bigger schools, but generally the bigger schools we play will be the Indiana’s and the in-state games. We don’t see teams as big as A&M, definitely. I guess we haven’t played a top-25 school in almost two years, so it’s been awhile since we’ve played someone of this magnitude. We played Iowa last year. I think it’s just a more exciting feeling than anything. It’s like, ‘Wow we are playing Texas A&M.’ We play Northwestern this year too, but it’s not nearly as cool as playing a school with this much history. As successful as they’ve been for the past few years and some of the big name guys that they’ve got that went to the NFL like Manziel and Evan, it’s just cool to notice some of the alumni and the history and know that we are going all the way to College Station to play. I think the students are kind of living it up a little bit. 
THE BATTALION: What comes to mind when you hear  A&M?
FOX: When I think of Texas A&M — I’m a pretty big sports fan and I know quite a bit about it — I think of some of the success that’s happened over time. I also know of some of the big time success over the past few years like the highest you’ve been in the rankings, beating Alabama, things like that. I would think that students think more of the alumni side of things. I’m sure if you ask a lot of students about Texas A&M football, they are probably going to think about Johnny Manziel. I think more about the stadium; just watching that on TV and seeing that crazy environment and how cool that is to see the fans get behind the team there. I’m sure a lot of students know how good they are, but I would say they would be able to tell you more about the alumni. I’m sure they know how credible the team is, how good they are and how big of an uphill battle it’s going to be for Ball State.
THE BATTALION: Darian Green tied the Ball State record for four touchdowns last game. What are your thoughts on him?
FOX: Green is a speedy little guy out of the backfield and he’s smart. During the first game, we got him going through check downs and a fast paced offense with a lot of shorter plays that have the potential to be bigger, like screens. He has the ability to get around to the outside and that helped him out a lot against VMI. He didn’t get a lot of action last year, so that was the first time he’s really played big time at a game. I think he showed that he’s got the potential … It’s kind of a committee this year [at running back] but I think he has what it takes to play a big role in that committee, not only through the ground but through the air. 
THE BATTALION: How good is your quarterback Jack Milas?
FOX: In terms of the quarterback, Jack Milas, he took over last year in the middle of the year. He played pretty well and led us to a 3-3 record last year. He set a career-high in the first game of this year in passing yards. We threw the ball a lot, and like I said, [it was a] fast paced offense. He’s pretty poised and he’s improved his arm strength a lot this offseason. He’s pretty accurate and overall, as a redshirt sophomore, he’s got a lot of poise and confidence, and I think he’s a good leader for that offense. 
THE BATTALION: What do you think Ball State is most worried about?
FOX: The biggest thing is that it’s just a different level. It’s MAC football and SEC football. So, I think the biggest thing coming in is they need to try to not be shell-shocked with what they are going to see. There are going to be some big, bad athletes [for A&M], and they are not used to seeing that on a week-to-week basis. I know you guys have got some big time recruits and talent down there. I think the biggest thing is if Ball State wants to compete, they need to go in with the mindset that, ‘Yeah, they are probably bigger and probably stronger and faster, but if we try to do our thing then maybe we can hang around.’ I think the biggest thing is just gaining some confidence and just having fun with it. 
THE BATTALION: What are your game predictions? 
FOX: A&M: 56, Ball State: 16. We had a pretty good run through today. One of the match-ups that I thought was pretty intriguing was Ball State’s offensive line versus A&M’s defensive line. Ball State’s offensive line has a lot of veterans on it and it’s a pretty seasoned group. They’ve got about seven guys that can play. They’ve ranked in the top 20 in the nation over the past few years in total sacks allowed; they don’t allow very many. I’ve been reading up on A&M’s defensive line, and I know you’ve got talent and especially on the edge with the pass rushers. I think that’s going to be a big key to the game is who wins that battle. I think in the end, Ball State can maybe hang around at the beginning, but I wouldn’t be  surprised to see A&M pull away more towards the second quarter and on until the rest of the game. And then, maybe Ball State scores points at the end. I just think A&M has too much talent. I think Ball State will put together some drives, maybe towards the beginning and a little towards the end, but Ball State didn’t play great defense last week against VMI, and that’s obviously a whole different level. I think the score will be bad, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ball State hang around a bit and make it a little bit closer than the score will indicate.

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