Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ugly or Pretty, the Cardinals are 10-0

Ball State came into Tuesday's showdown against Miami with everything in the mix for a possible upset. The Cards were coming off a dominating performance against the MAC's best defense, a large home win, the return of Dante Love to the field, and Central Michigan was just 8 days in the future. Coupled with the rivalry of Miami, shaky weather, and a short week (6 days) from the NIU game, and the Cardinals were ripe for an upset.

As the game progressed, you saw a Ball State defense get beat time and time again on third down. You saw normally sure-handed MiQuale Lewis cough up the football. You saw Nate Davis force a throw into coverage that led to an interception. You saw a partially blocked punt. You saw the defensive front not pressure Miami QB Daniel Raudabaugh. You saw that same backup throw for 254 yards and a TD. You saw the Cardinals unable to punch it in on three tries inside the five. You saw a Ball State team held scoreless for the first quarter. You saw Miami receiver Armand Robinson drop a wide open TD in the 4th that would have made it a one possession ball game. But all that's irrelevant to what you saw when the clock read zero in the fourth quarter... 31-16, the final score in favor of the Cardinals, moving them to 10-0 and 6-0 in the MAC.

It was a nice win for the Cardinals, but there is plenty to take away from this game in the negative column. My hope is that this was our trap game. The one game of the season that it seems every team has where the bed just gets shat for no apparent reason. You saw it with USC/Oregon St., Penn St./Iowa, Florida/Ole Miss, etc. Each top ranked team seems to have had at least one game where they just didn't play well. Luckily for the Cardinals, it's still a victory. And these Cardinals are still in a position to win the MAC and potentially make some noise on the national scene.

Some other things we noticed about the game...
  • It's an amazing sense of entitlement when Ball State can go on the road, win by 15 at a rival's place, still be undefeated, and the fans (including myself) don't feel all that great about the win. Success changes people, but I hope we can all keep things sort of in perspective as the chances for a loss grow.
  • Our OTP Liveblog was a rockin' good time, as usual. We'll have it again next Wednesday for the Central Michigan game, so plan ahead. Our voting for the OTP Liveblog Player of the Game was a tie. One entry is being administratively disqualified for being a douchebag. Some of you might remember "Chris From Tennessee". Chris voiced his concern over a midmajor making it to the BCS because no one would want to see that game, apparently completely forgetting the Boise State/Oklahoma game which is universally regarded as one of the greatest bowl games ever played. Congrats Chris. You suck. As such, the actual OTP Liveblog Player of the Game goes to MiQuale Lewis, or as we have dubbed him, OurQuale Lewis, who racked up 165 and 2 TDs. Congrats, Quale!
    OTP Player of the Game MiQuale Lewis

  • The quote from Miami coach Shane Montgomery after the game sort of stuck in my craw. "They're a good football team, but they're not much better than us." Really? Well, if we aren't that much better than Miami, and beat them at home by 15, and the talent is equal, that means you got outcoached. Congrats, jagoff. Piss poor form, especially from a coach who received a goldmine that Coach Hoeppner left, and promptly drive it right into the ground.
  • The defense was absolutely dreadful last night and played just good enough not to lose. There was virtually no pressure up front, the corners and safeties seemed lost on some plays and unable to find the ball, poor tackling, and a failure to hold on 3rd down. The Cardinals made a back up QB look like All-MAC. And that's not good.
  • I'm usually not one to bitch about the officiating, and doing so after a win is ridiculous, but I have to speak up about this. I know there is holding down in the trenches on nearly every play. But last night was absolutely blatant and flagrant on both sides. On nearly every Miami possession, there were multiple linemen with fistfulls of white Ball State jerseys. Kind of hard to pressure the QB when that happens. Those little yellow things in your pockets are flags... it's ok to throw them, officials.
So here we are... the point in the season where everyone dreamed we would be. The goal of this team was a MAC Championship... and it's theirs to lose. Two games. Two weeks. Two contests that could define a program and most certainly define a coach and a senior class. Next up for the Cardinals is Central Michigan. It will be tough. It will be exciting. It will be everything a football fan could hope for. 7 days.

(1-5 Bradys, with 1 being happy enough to burst into song,
5 being filled with murderous rage)

4 Bradys
Hoke is known for his defense, and this defense had arguably one of its worst games of the season. A win is a win, but there is much work to be done if the Cardinals are to beat CMU and continue their collision course with a MAC title. The HokeManBeast is hungry for more, and this week in practice should be brutal.


RV said...

OurQuale was great last night, but I'm glad that Rowengarter cooled down a few notches in that 2nd half. No more soft zone on 3rd and long, please.

edge said...

The HokeManBeast fed last night. I'm hearing reports on 4 missing persons, one missing border collie, and even a 2004 Ford Excursion that had multiple bite marks and parts missing. All I know is we better perform against Central or Muncie will likely cease to exist.

Brew said...

After the shaky play against MU this week I think I'm betting the house on Ball U to cover against Central MI. They're gonna come out pissed off and with something to prove...


Papa Lou BSU said...

Re: the officiating. I damn near had a stroke when the Miami WR dropped the sure TD pass. Why? BECAUSE HE SHOVED TREY LEWIS TO THE GROUND RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE OFFICIAL to get that wide open. And naturally, the hanky stayed in pocket.

Although we benefited from the officials' reticence on one play on the next Miami drive... when Derrick Henry batted away the fourth-down pass, the ref reached into his pocket to flag him for taunting, but decided to give Henry an earful instead.