Ball State Football faced a heavy task today in taking on No. 8 Notre Dame. Not only was this the first time both teams have met, but this is the first time in three season that the Cardinals have faced a ranked opponent. While the score may have not favored the Cardinals, the team was able to limit one of the top offenses in college football for the majority of the game.
“We lost a tough game to a good football team in which we fought hard,” Head coach Mike Neu said. “We prepared all week that we fight, stretch, claw and leave everything you have on the field for 60 minutes. Without a doubt, looking at those guys in the locker room as they had just left the field, that they had left everything on the field.”
The Cardinals nearly matched the Irish on defense collecting 73 total tackles and 47 solo tackles to the Notre Dame’s 84 total tackles and 60 solo tackles. The Cardinals picked off the Irish three times and sacked senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush four times.
Sophomore weakside linebacker Jaylin Thomas led the way for the Cardinals with nine solo tackles on the night. Sophomore safety Bryce Cosby and junior middle linebacker Jacob White also totaled nine total tackles.
“Our defensive line did a great job tonight up front which opened up a lot for the linebackers,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t ask for the d-line to do a better job. It was just fun flying around.”
With the addition of 3-4 defensive base season and the Cardinals being forecasted to have a 0.9% chance of winning, their performance on the defensive side of the ball has given the team confidence heading forward. This performance comes after the Irish put 24-points up on then No.14 Michigan.
“Any time you can come in here and compete the way we did and kept us in the game from a defensive standpoint, that’s only going to create a greater confidence level for us,” Neu said. “Every week is a new week and just cause we came off this week with positive things, it’s great for our confidence, but we need to get back to working tomorrow.”
Looking to next weekend, the Cardinals will face another power five squad in Indiana. The Hoosiers are coming off a close win over Virginia, where they only won by four.
“Next week we plan on just playing fast and hard like we did today,” Thomas said. “We’re just trying to take each game one-by-one and perform the best we can be.”