When Jordan Williams woke up Saturday, he didn’t expect to have a game he’d never forget. He was just excited to play football.
The redshirt sophomore linebacker not only provided his first career sack, he scooped his first career fumble recovery for a 60-yard touchdown — the first for the Cardinals in five seasons.
“I felt like I was Caleb Huntley,” Williams said. “Just breaking a long run and running free — I felt like a running back at the moment.”
Fellow linebacker Jacob White, who finished the day with 17 tackles, had high praise for Williams.
“We have preached scoring a defensive touchdown for a while now, and to see him do that and go down the sideline was definitely something special,” White said. “He is a positive kid and someone we turn to when things go good or bad, so his positivity is something we feed off of.”
The very next defensive play, Williams recovered another fumble, which led to another Ball State touchdown.
Positivity and hard work throughout practice was something head coach Mike Neu emphasized when describing Williams’ performance.
“I think he has grown every week,” Neu said. “I thought his athleticism was on display today when he recovered that fumble in the open field. His confidence is growing every week, and when we talk after every game, he is always positive and he is trending in the upward direction, and that is what you want for someone who works so hard.”
Confidence is another word thrown around in the Cardinals’ locker room and something Williams said keeps the team glued together.
“It just makes me feel like I fit in this defense because everybody is a confident player,” Williams said. “It is nice to vibe off of all the other players because everyone knows their job and does their job, and I like being with them and doing that with them as well.”
Williams’ career day started with a sack, which is something he said he has always wanted to accomplish.
“I have been wanting a sack for a long time because that is definitely something on my list of things I have wanted to do,” William said. “When I got that, I was so excited because I talk about wanting to get one all day every day.”
The sack and both fumble recoveries all came in the first quarter, and he was just a step too late of picking up a third early in the second half as a Florida Atlantic fumble rolled out of bounds.
Williams’ play helped Ball State jump out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, but the Cardinals ultimately fell to the Owls, 41-31.