In a pivotal midweek match-up, where Ball State Football's postseason fate would be dictated, Toledo came out hot rolling the Cardinals, 45-13. While the matchup had a similar finish to the Cardinals loss to Ohio last week, there were a few new aspects of the game that sought improvement from the team.
A slower start came sooner than usual
Prior to this game, the Cardinals were outscoring the opposition 55 to 27 in the first quarter this season. The Cardinals got outscored in the first quarter 21-0 after the Rockets scored on their first three drives. The Cardinal defense would step up in the second quarter only allowing the Rockets to tack on seven more points before halftime. The opportunity was there for the Cardinals as they did pick off quarterback Eli Peters three times in the first half, but could not convert.
The Cardinals had another bad case of head rush
For the second straight week, the opposition gained the edge by out rushing the Cardinals. The Rockets had 100 rushing yards on Ball State with 204 led by Art Thompkins (87 yards) and Bryant Koback (78 yards). Freshman redshirt running back Will Jones pulled close to those numbers with 63 yards, but didn’t have as strong of support as the Rockets did. The Rockets also amounted to only three lost yards on the night.
The ball is being received, but the points haven’t been delivered
While the Cardinals didn’t have a strong rushing game, the team was able to connect for 358 receiving yards, the second highest finish this season. Junior redshirt wide receiver Riley Miller and sophomore wide receiver Justin Hall led the way connecting for a combined 198 yards in the game. Sophomore redshirt quarterback Drew Plitt had a higher completion rate of 61 percent and would out throw Peters, 355 to 327 yards. However, passing plays only amounted to one touchdown the entire game.
The finals two games are going to be just as challenging
Coming into this game, Toledo was sitting at a .500 record and it was seeming to look like a fairly even matchup. With this game in the books, the Cardinals have two more challenges ahead in Western Michigan and Miami (Ohio). The Broncos are only one of two MAC teams who are currently bowl eligible and will face an Ohio team that blew out the Cardinals a week ago. In the Cardinals final matchup of the season, they face a RedHawk team who they haven’t defeated since 2013 and who just went toe-to-toe with MAC leader Buffalo.