Thursday, October 30, 2008

Edge's Ball State Rock & Roll Report Card

Roving OTP reporter Edge gives us his take on the Ball State Cardinals' most recent performance. Edge's Rock & Roll Report Card publishes every Tuesday (unless game scheduling dictates a later post) to OTP, as football, like most things in life, is better with music. Enjoy. -Ed.

BSU Rock & Roll Report Card: Eastern Michigan

The wins keep coming for Ball State. I won't lie; it's still a shock to the system. I explained it to a colleague this way:

Imagine thinking you're getting $1,000 back in taxes this year. But due to an error (a beneficial one), you're actually getting $2,000 back. And for some really strange reason, you're getting checks for $250 each month for the rest of the year because... well, just because.

That's what this season is like. It's good news after good news after good news. Ok, throw out the whole Dante Love thing, but you get the picture. Like I've said before, when you have followed the Cards through the haze of the late nineties to the early-to-mid 2000s, a perfect 8-0 seems like a dream.

There were some problems, namely with the offense. This is nothing new; we've seen it the past few games. Defensively, the Cards will only get that BCS respect with a couple shutouts or single-digit opponent performances in the coming three weeks. Again, work needs to be done. Here are the recaps:

Offense Recap
Slow start once again for this Cardinals offense. Nate Davis seemed to come out a little cold. At one point, he was a mind-bottling six for 13 in passing. That's not the Nate Davis we've seen all year, and it had better get turned around in the next few days.

Kudos for great performance goes to Medaris Grant. Grant caught five passes for a total of 92 yards, a career-best. Sometimes when the offense won't start one way, you have to try another method. Finding Grant was the momentum this offense needed to seal the deal against a capable Eastern.

Boo to MiQuale Lewis. Nah, just kidding. Seventy-five yards on ten carries is still impressive (7.5 yards per run, you math wizards), but it wasn't the usual explosive Lewis that came to play Saturday. Keep this in mind: he's just over 200 yards from a record held since 1994 for rushing. So, let's hope he gets his due.

Defense Recap
Once again, solid. Sean Baker, you receive the player of the game award. This kid had an impressive 12 tackles, taking him to the top of the Cardinals defense. You can't help but to watch a game and not be impressed with the way he gets to the ball every time.

Also of high note is the fact that Alex Knipp gathered 12 tackles and one interception. It's this type of play from a defense led by Baker and Knipp that may help BSU secure a perfect season.

Special Teams Recap:
Chris Miller is really coming into his own this year, and has put up some impressive punts recently. He averaged almost 55 yards on three kicks in that high Muncie wind.

Aside from this, nothing really stands out. Like the solid defense, the special teams unit gets the job done and really does provide the support this (dare I say) stagnant offense needs to finally score some points.

Final Score:
Ball State: 38
Eastern Michigan: 16

Performance: 3 Guitars

This is still a Cardinals team that seems a bit slow to start. If they want that big opportunity for an 11-0 season, waiting until the second half to start an offensive assault will not get the job done. Northern and Central will gladly feed on the opportunity to draw first blood, and these teams have the capacity to not let up the entire time. The Cards' offense is only saved by solid defensive and special team units this week. Take those away, and it's a little nerve-racking thinking we may have to hang our hats on an offense that starts up as rough as a 1978 F-150 in Muncie winter.

Soundtrack for the Game
Under the Red Sky by Bob Dylan. This was a bad album by Dylan's standards, but there were a couple gems hidden in there. But, like the 2008 Cardinals offense, even a bad Dylan album is better than most others' best.

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