Three takeaways from the Ball State loss against Georgia Southern

<p>Senior linebacker Sidney Houston Jr. leads a group of defensive players tackling Georgia Southern's ball carrier. Daniel Kehn, DN</p>

Senior linebacker Sidney Houston Jr. leads a group of defensive players tackling Georgia Southern's ball carrier. Daniel Kehn, DN

A week removed from its first win of the season, Ball State football (1-3, 0-0 MAC) faced their last non-conference opponent of the season in Georgia Southern.

The Eagles were able to stifle out any momentum Ball State had with a dominating 40-3 victory. 

The defense struggles against a fast Eagles offense 

About six minutes into the game, Ball State found themselves down 14-0. 

The Eagles received the ball to start the game and only took nine plays to find themselves in the endzone. Taking up only 1:30 minutes off of the clock. 

Georgia Southern had the ability to stretch the field and with their quick offensive schemes, it was a challenge for the Cardinals to contain. 

After a quick three-and-out from Ball State, the ball was back in the Eagles' hands. Although they doubled their time of possession to three minutes, it only took them four plays instead of nine.

A big run by sophomore running back OJ Arnold put Georgia Southern in Cardinal territory, which set up a quick pass that resulted in a wide-open touchdown from sixth-year quarterback Davis Brin. 

The Eagles were able to put up other decent drives and heading into halftime it was 23-0. 

Brin went 20-for-27 (74.1 percent) with 164 yards and two touchdowns in his first half. 

Offensive first-half struggles

In last week's win over Indiana State, the offense was clicking on all points. The offensive line, the running backs and wide receivers were all working as a unit to put up points. Today, it was the complete opposite of what was seen on the same field just seven days ago. 

Ball State only amounted to 59 total yards in the first half, where the Eagles were able to put up 304 total yards of offense. 


Redshirt junior running back Marquez Cooper walks the ball back into the huddle after a carry against Georgia Southern Sept. 23 at Scheumann Stadium. Andrew Berger, DN

Redshirt junior Marquez Cooper, who was essentially untouchable against the Sycamore, only had 18 yards in the first half on seven attempts. 

Freshman quarterback Kadin Semonza had 13 attempts in the first 30 minutes of play, with only seven completions for 51 yards. 

The offensive line was unable to provide support for Semonza as well, as he was taken down three times in the first half. The sacks totaled up to 11 yards lost in the first half. 

Ball State also had four three-and-out drives.

Overmatched second half

As if the first half was not rough enough for the Cardinals, the second half did not show them much love either. 

Brin was able to keep up his passing clinic in the second half. His first touchdown of the half was a 21-yard pass that was simply put where nobody else could catch it but fifth-year wide receiver Khaleb Hood.

The first time Ball State was in the red zone was at the 6:30 mark in the third quarter. 

In scoring position, Georgia Southern intercepted Semonza, shutting down any scoring option. Six-year Shemar Bartholomew got the pick for the Eagles and Ball State remained scoreless.

The first play for Ball State after getting the ball back was another interception, a ball that was intended for sophomore Tanner Koziol went long, falling into the Eagles' hands.


Redshirt senior linebacker Cole Pearce makes a tackle against Georgia Southern Sept. 23 at Scheumann Stadium. Andrew Berger, DN

Cooper, who was active in the first quarter, only had one attempt in the third quarter. 

For some of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter, redshirt sophomore Kiael Kelly was in charge of the Cardinal offense.  

Kelly was able to lead a drive down the field, setting up Ball State for their only points of the game, a 23-yard attempt by freshman kicker Jackson Courville.

At the end of the game, the Eagles outpaced the Cardinals 517 yards to 197 yards offensively. 

To put it simply, Ball State was overmatched and outcoached, with head coach Mike Neu even saying that today was on him. Mid-American Conference (MAC) play awaits the Cardinals as they travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sept. 30 to face Western Michigan to open conference play. Kick-off is set for 3:30 p.m. 

Contact Elijah Poe via email at or on X @ElijahPoe4.


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