MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) -A record-setting quarterback and a quick-strike offense have sent No. 14 Ball State into uncharted territory. The Cardinals are 10-0 for the first time in school history, all their victories by double digits.
Now comes the hard part.
Ball State (6-0) faces its toughest test of the season Wednesday night, a road game against Central Michigan that could determine the Mid-American Conference's Western Division title.
``It's a game everybody's been focused on for a long time,'' Ball State coach Brady Hoke said. ``It's a challenge going up there, it'll be a hostile environment. It's going to be a great challenge for us.''
The Cardinals can earn at least of share of the division crown with a victory.
CMU (8-2, 6-0) can earn its third straight MAC West championship and a berth in the Dec. 5 league title game with a victory.
``When you play into November and you control your own destiny, that's big,'' Central Michigan coach Butch Jones said.
Ball State also controls its own destiny. Beat Central Michigan, then Western Michigan on Nov. 25 and its off to the MAC championship game for the Cardinals.
Ball State has the league's most potent offense, led by junior quarterback Nate Davis. He is the school's career leader in touchdown passes (68) and yards passing (8,289).
Ball State averages 37.6 points per game and has topped 40 points five times, including in a 42-20 win at Indiana.
``When you go against an explosive offense such as Ball State, you can't give them a short field,'' Jones said.
Davis resembles Central Michigan junior quarterback Dan LeFevour, who also holds school records in TD passes (66) and yards passing (8,491).
He is also the first quarterback in Central Michigan history to top 2,000 yards in rushing (2,093).
Hoke knows well what LeFevour can do. The junior had five touchdown passes and 506 yards of total offense in a 58-38 victory against Ball State last year.
``Multiple challenges,'' Hoke said. ``When we look at him and his feet and his feel for the pocket and running the football he manages the offense as well as anybody in the league. He makes the right decisions.''
Despite the talented quarterbacks, Hoke said this game will come down to smash-mouth football.
``Your front seven on defense and your front offensively is where this game is going to be won,'' Hoke said.
Ball State running back MiQuale Lewis has eight 100-yard rushing games this season and had a career-high 166 yards in the win at Indiana.
``We want to be able to run the football,'' Hoke said. ``You want to be able to establish the running game which enables us to do the rest of the things we want do.''

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