Ed. Note: I will warn you in advance that I’m not quite sure where this post will go. Knee-jerk snap posts after a loss are never a great idea, and stream of consciousness posts after a loss to a team widely regarded as one of the worst in FBS could potentially turn bitter, vindictive, and wildly negative. I will try my best to not allow that to happen, but if in case the negativity monster rears its ugly head, you in fact have been adequately warned.
Welll… that certainly sucked now didn’t it? Losing in and of itself isn’t the end of the world. Hell, BSU fans have grown accustomed to dropping games more frequently than we don’t. But today isn’t the same. Losing to a MAC opponent, a winless MAC opponent, a winless MAC opponent universally thought of as one of the worst in the conference/nation isn’t what we expected and isn’t what we deserve. After each and every loss since this blog was started back in 2008 we’ve implored people to stay positive. We’ve begged people to not give up. We’ve assured folks that better days were coming. Today, all that positivity, all that fear calming, all that hope and optimism for this program in the near future appears for naught. I’m not sure what rock bottom is, but I fear that the Ball State football program is venturing dangerously close to it.
Today’s loss, a 41-38 loss in overtime to the Eastern Michigan Eagles is just the latest example of the frustrating football that has overtaken this program. The Cardinals led 28-7, and it appeared that the Cardinals were about to hand EMU their 19th consecutive loss. What was needed was a simply cruise control kind of victory. What happened was 28 unanswered points from EMU, and BSU found themselves in need of a touchdown in the final seconds to even force the overtime period.
The box score and recap for this particular contest is equal parts confusing and humiliating. EMU outplayed the Cardinals in nearly every facet, from time of possession to total yards. BSU won the turnover battle, so I guess that’s good. Statistically, this isn’t what should have happened. To have a winless team mired in a significant losing streak rack up a 490-243 yard advantage is absolutely ridiculous. That’s the humiliating part, but the confusion stems from how or more importantly who compiled the 243. The leading rusher for the Cards? Freshman David Brown. Quale Lewis? 6 carries, 1 yard. Cory Sykes? No carries, but he has been battling an injury lately. Eric Williams did run a kickoff back for a TD, but only rushed eight times for 62 yards. Is this not the defense that let Quale and Sykes run roughshod over them last season? Pretty sure it is. And the fact that the rushing attack wasn’t jammed down the throats of EMU is inexcusable.
Defensively, the Cardinals yet again let a single player beat them. EMU’s Alex Gillett ran around, ran through, and threw over the BSU defense all day. 225 through the air on 10 completions and 189 on the ground on 35 carries seems to me a bit excessive, and I cannot imagine how the defensive coaching staff not only couldn’t see this coming but failed to do anything about it once it started. This seems to be the routine over the last two years, where one stand out player is made to look like a Heisman Trophy winner thanks to the inability of the BSU defense to stop them and the BSU coaching staff to do anything different schematically to maybe make looking awesome just a little bit difficult.
I never thought I would be saying this again after 2008 and the magical undefeated season we witnessed, but there is nothing positive to take away from this game and nothing that I can point to as a life vest in this abysmal era of failure and disappointment. In the last two weeks, barring the first 28 minutes of today, this team has looked unprepared, unmotivated, and incapable of success. Homecoming was an embarrassment that I figured was a simple bump in the road. After today’s performance, it’s less about the road and more about the car, or more specifically, the driver.
Over the last year and a half, there has been no more ardent a supporter of Stan Parrish than myself and this site. But after today, when coupled with the rest of the evidence, it does make me significantly question if whether or not the success and victories that I desire are even remotely attainable under his watch. Is Coach Parrish to blame for the lack of results? Is the staff? Is Jo Ann Gora and Tom Collins to blame? Unfortunately, youth and inexperience only go so far to write off less than stellar results. The time has now come for the difficult questions to be asked, like who is responsible for the complete and utter failure of this program to sustain success and even worse…regress to a level that makes the program irrelevant and unimportant all over again. Someone needs to be held accountable, because this type of performance is simply inexcusable.