Tyler Stockton is a rising star in the coaching ranks. At just 31 years old, Stockton is the second-youngest defensive coordinator in the FBS. His defensive unit continues to set the tone for this Ball State team that has won 13 of its last 19 games overall. Stockton has brought a new approach to the defense that aligns in a usual 3-4 base, but has the best athletes on the field at all times. He adjusts his game plans to match whatever the opposition hangs its hat on, including the air raid, triple option, pro style, etc.
In Stockton’s first season as defensive coordinator in 2020, he helped Ball State to its first Mid-American Championship since 1996, its first-ever bowl victory in the Arizona Bowl and its first year-end rankings in the Associated Press and coaches polls. He has coached four All-MAC selections at inside linebacker in his two seasons, including Jacob White (2019) and Brandon Martin (2020) on the first team and Jaylin Thomas on the third team twice. In 2020, Martin was named MAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, the first at Ball State sincepunter Brad Maynard in 1996 and the Cardinals’ first traditional defensive player to win the award since linebacker Greg Garnica did it three straight years from 1987-89. Stocktoncoached a BSU defense that improved 49 spots in the national scoring defense rankings in 2020 at 25.8 points per game. Ball State led the league and ranked 15th nationally with 24 forced turnovers in 2019.
Ball State sits at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in league play. The Cardinals are in search of their second consecutive bowl bid, which has happened just twice in program history – 2008-09 and 2012-13. Ball State has won 13 of its last 19 games overall.
Stockton’s defensive unit has helped create one of the top turnover margins in the country at plus-0.50. Over the last six games, Ball State has held a plus-9 turnover margin and has forced 11 turnovers. The defense has shown great discipline and technique as it is among the lowest penalized units in the country. The Cardinals are inside the top 25 for fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards among all FBS programs. The defense has been on the field for an average of 33:19 per game, seventh most in the country, and still allows under 28 points per game. In the second half of conference games this season, Stockton’s unit has allowed just 10.6 points per half, which ranks near the top of the MAC.
Stockton has coached three of the top-10 tacklers in the MAC this season in safety Bryce Cosby (85) and inside linebackers Jaylin Thomas (82) and Clayton Coll (79). Both Thomas (371) and Cosby (369) rank inside the top 10 among all active players in career tackles. Cosby is the only player in the country to log multiple games of at least 10 tackles, 1.0 sack and one forced fumble on the year, and he did it in back-to-back games at Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan. In addition, 16 different players have recorded at least 1.0 tackle-for-loss, including eight that have at least 1.0 sack this season.