Central Michigan had a second-and-9 at Ball State’s 34-yard line midway through the third quarter. Junior safety Bryce Cosby got his hands on a pass from Quinten Dormady, but it fell incomplete.
This brought up third-and-9. Cosby got another chance. This one was a wobbler. Dormady was hurried, he threw on the run and the ball floated ever so slowly right to Cosby, who didn’t have anyone within five yards of him.
Cosby jumped with arms extended. The ball bounced off his chest before dropping to the turf at his feet.
“I just dropped the ball — simple as that,” Cosby said. “I don’t have any excuse or specific answer on why I dropped it … I just got to make the play. I’ve made it before. I was just mad because I knew that was a play I should have made.”
It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, even after the Chippewas converted the following fourth-and-9 and subsequently scored a touchdown to reduce the Cardinals’ lead to 10.
It did, however, when Central Michigan went on to win the game by one point.
“I told my teammates I owe them for that one. I took full responsibility for it. It was uncharacteristic of me,” Cosby said. “Obviously, it hurt after the game. That could have been a big play for my team, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
The Cardinals could have easily played the blame game. If Cosby makes that interception, the Chippewas don’t score on that drive, and Ball State has a chance to extend its lead. If the defense doesn’t allow Central Michigan to put up 34 points in the second half, the offense doesn’t have as much pressure to keep the lead.
But that’s not what’s happening at practice.
“You win as a team, and you lose as a team. It doesn’t matter,” head coach Mike Neu said. “These guys have been awesome about that. We had a great meeting on Sunday, and we put that thing behind us on Sunday. Our effort, our focus, the way we practice — guys have been really locked in.”
The Cardinals currently sit at 4-6 with only two games left in the season, but if you ask the players, they don’t need to change much, if anything.
After going 3-0 to start Mid-American Conference play, Ball State has lost its last three games. The last two were lost by a combined five points, and the Cardinals had the lead at some point in both.
“Are these obviously wins we definitely feel like we wanted bad and were very winnable games? Yes, but there’s no reason to falter on anything that happened in the past,” Cosby said. “I live by a quote, ‘There’s no such thing as losing. You either win, or you learn.’ I’m not trying to beat a dead horse when it comes to this past weekend, but I learned, and we all learned something to take away from that game.”
At this point, Cosby said, it’s back to the drawing board. The Cardinals need to win their last two games to have a chance at a bowl game, so they’re trying to make the best of what’s left of their 2019.
“The only place we can go is up,” junior receiver Justin Hall said. “We got two more games. We’re going to try to finish out strong and get two wins.”
Ball State will visit Kent State Saturday, Nov. 23 for a noon kickoff.