In its first non-weekend game of the season since throttling Central Connecticut State in late August, Ball State Football broke down defensively as Ohio blew past the Cardinals, 52-14. What looked to be like a close game in the first quarter, as the Cardinals walked off the field with a 7-0 lead, proved otherwise.
This was a wake up call for the defense
The Bobcat offense looked unstoppable Thursday night as they would run up and down the field collecting 411 rushing yards. This was highlighted by the Bobcats going on a 52-point scoring streak between the second and third quarters. The Cardinals had a tough time in particular stopping AJ Ouellette and Maleek Irons, who combined for 237 rushing yards. There wasn’t much pushback from the Cardinals as the Bobcats would only lose two yards the entire game.
When Neal's out, Plitt needs to be IN
After redshirt junior quarterback Riley Neal left the game due to injury late in the second quarter, redshirt sophomore Drew Plitt took over under center for the rest of the game. While Neal didn’t have a strong performance in the two quarters he played, with only 46 percent of his passes connecting, Plitt’s performance was similar to Neal’s. Plitt’s accuracy was a bit higher with around half his passes connecting at 52 percent, but would be picked off once and sacked twice in his third appearance of the season. Plitt would throw the final touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter.
Offense needs some sort of ignition
At the start of the second quarter, the Cardinal offense disappeared and wouldn’t show up again until the fourth quarter. The Cardinals would rush the ball for a season-low 96 yards and would lose almost the same amount, being pushed back 80 yards in the game. While the Cardinals did rack up a higher number in passing yards than the Bobcats with 162, that would only amount to one touchdown. In finding the end zone, the Cardinals barely got the chains moving, amounting to only 11 first downs to the Bobcats' 30.
Opened strong. Closed strong.
One positive to pull out of this game was that the Cardinals won the first and fourth quarters. The Cardinals outscored the Bobcats 14-0 in those two quarters and would manage to hold the first lead of the game. While the Bobcats gained the scoring advantage in the second and third quarters, it's still an important to finish games and stay competitive through all four quarters.