Ball State’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator is very much a leader and mentor of a defensive unit that emulates his fire and discipline. The Cardinals’ inside linebackers coach and a repeat nominee, Stockton reshaped the Ball State defense after early injuries and losses at Kentucky and Georgia — and in the past five games, Ball State has allowed just 18.2 points per game. He is a player’s coach who cares for his players on and off the field … “He’s like a big brother to me,” says leading tackler Keionte Newson who entered the starting lineup in Week 3 following the loss of team leader Clayton Coll.
Ball State has won two of its past four games with defense being the key in each of the past five. Highlights include five sacks in a road defeat at Eastern Michigan; multiple sacks again while limiting MAC-West leading Toledo to just 13 points in a 13-6 defeat; a goal-line stand in a loss at Bowling Green that gave the offense a final chance for victory; and three turnovers in a 20-17 road win at Northern Illinois.
While the offense has undergone its change and struggles, the defense has been disciplined and relentless in keeping Ball State in games. Its relentless spirit and effort reflect Coach Stockton’s leadership.