In what head coach Mike Neu described as "a disappointing day", Ball State Football suffered its fifth loss of the season to a conference dark horse in Eastern Michigan, 42-20. Through 60 minutes of play, the Eagles capitalized on cracks in the foundation of the Cardinals play.
Cardinals need to fly in any weather
With wind gusts peaking as high as 43 mph and temperatures dropping 20 degrees from the start of the game, environmental conditions played a major factor into the the game. Neu said the conditions caused inconsistency in the team's play and didn't allow them to get back on track during the game. The weather plagued kicking on both sides of the ball as senior kicker Morgan Hagee and kicker Chad Ryland would miss a field goal attempt and a extra point. The teams ventures in kicking were highlighted by a Hagee extra point that stopped dead in its tracks as soon as it went through the goal posts.
A lead, or at least a tie, needs to leave the first half
For the second straight game and the third game this season, the Cardinals would end the first quarter close, but would go into the locker room at halftime down by double digits. With the first quarter ending at a 7-0 advantage to Eastern Michigan, the Eagles ran all over the Cardinals tacking on 14 more points and adding 100-passing yards. In that span the Cardinals would only amount to a touchdown and missed extra point. While the Cardinals were able to comeback last week in this situation, this Eastern Michigan squad has had experience in holding down and building on a early lead.
Quarterback opposition needs to be matched
Eastern Michigan quarterback Tyler Wiegers connected with just about everything completing 22 of 28 attempted passes finishing off the day with 78.6 percent completion rate and throwing for three touchdowns. In Ball State's backfield, redshirt junior Riley Neal had a 53.8 percent completion rate with only 21 of his 39 passes connecting. Neal was also picked off once over the course of the game. On defensive end in in allowing successful opposing QB play, Neu said this is an aspect of the game that needs to be corrected.
Get the flags off the field
MAC football this season has shown to be very penalty heavy on both sides of the ball. In Toledo's loss to Buffalo, both teams combined for 17 penalties on the day with 12 of them coming from the Rockets. The Cardinals lost 108-yards in penalties compared to the Eagles 65. Flags on the field have proven to be a game changer for the Cardinals for the season in winning and losing. Kent State had 17 penalties in the Cardinals dominating win to open up MAC play versus Saturday's game where the Cardinals nine penalties set the team far apart from the Eagles five. If the flags come off the field, it's likely that the Cardinals will be able to keep close on the scoreboard.