Defense key element to Cardinal victory

Crable accredits defensive success to coaches, game plans.

Storrs, Conn. -- For the second week in a row, Ball State's defense stepped up big.

In the forth quarter, against Toledo last Saturday, the Rockets were within one yard of a touchdown. The Cardinal defensive line held the Rockets, for what many considered the game-winning stand.

In the fourth quarter against Connecticut Saturday, the Huskies were nearing the red zone, and the same situation arose for the Cardinals -- make the stop, or possibly let the game slip away.

The defense, again, made the stop.

According to defensive end Rachman Crable, being able to make those type of plays is crucial to his team's success.

"It's huge," Crable said. "(Connecticut) gets that first down, they may get another first down, they may score a touchdown. You never know."

Rachman credits much of his team's defensive success to his coaches and their ability to come up with a good game plan. Seemingly, the coaches came up with a near perfect defensive game plan against Toledo as the Cardinals shut down former Heisman candidate, Chester Taylor to only 29 yards rushing.

Crable felt Saturday's success against Connecticut was again because of the coaches' abilities to make a sound game plan.

"I have to give credit to the defensive coaches," Crable said. "They worked on a game plan all week, and we just went out there and did what we had to do."

Even Connecticut coach Randy Edsall was impressed with the Ball State defense Saturday and mentioned that he realized ahead of time it would present a problem for his team.

"Offensively we knew we were going to be facing a very tough defense," he said. "Statistically, we looked at (Ball State) and looked at what they have done and we knew it was going to be a tough day. "

It's not just the Ball State defense line that is getting the job done however. The secondary is beginning to make big plays also.

Last week against Toledo, Quentin Manley sealed the Cardinal's win with an interception within the last minute of the game.

Against Connecticut, the secondary came out strong from the first whistle to make a statement.

One big secondary defensive play came early in the first quarter when Cardinal cornerback Jesse Avant intercepted a pass from Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky. Avant returned the pick 27 yards before being pushed out of bounds by the Huskies.

After Saturday's game against Connecticut, Ball State's defense is ranked No. 38 in rushing defense, No. 54 in passing defense, and No. 35 in overall defense.

To head coach Bill Lynch, having a solid defense that stops the offense at crucial times and a developing secondary is very important.

"It's really big," Lynch said. "That's how you win games, and how you become a good football team is when your defense can play like that week in and week out."


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