I’ll have more tomorrow but this one stings. Quite a bit. Not because of a loss at the hands of North Texas, but more so because of how that loss came to be. Road games against a good team are losable. That’s not the issue, and I struggle to say BSU beat themselves because that gives no credit to a solid North Texas team. But to call that performance from the Cardinals anything but subpar would be understating the obvious.
The defense turned in another jekyll and hyde performance, performing in the first half well at times, serviceable at others, and disappointing only occasionally. The second half was an absolute deplorable performance, but part of that goes on the offense. Extremely short drives that ate no clock put the defense’s back up against the wall in a sweltering Texas heat. Throw in what I consider to be extremely odd playcalling and it was just a mass failure across the board. Even the usual special teams success that we have come to expect from a Lembo-led team had issues, missing two field goals and an extra point. That’s seven points which just happens to be the margin of victory for the Mean Green. The first field goal miss isn’t a significant issue, as it was exceptionally long. Trying one of a similar distance a series later is a head scratcher.
So while I won’t say BSU beat themselves, I will say that with the unit failures, turnovers, and penalties, they put themselves in an almost insurmountable position and the inevitable conclusion just came to fruition. Zero points in a half is inexcusable against all but the stoutest defenses, and though they were good, this wasn’t an Alabama-esque defensive unit. It was just a failure to execute and because of that, the Cards now find themselves 2-1 after a seven point loss in the Lonestar State. Hell, the fact it was only seven is sort of surprising as there were more than a few wide open seam routes for North Texas that could have easily gone for 6 had they simply thrown it in the general vicinity of the receiver. Add in that literally every facet of the BSU game was not all that great and this one could have been much worse. So very much worse.
Some other random thoughts on the loss…
- Keith Wenning’s interception-free year came to a halt today, as he threw two. He did go for 333 yards with two scores, so that’s something I guess.
- With the massive amount of tiredness on the field, I’d say the heat was a definite issue. By the conclusion of the game, the line of scrimmage wasn’t a battle at all as North Texas just had their way with the line on both sides of the ball. I’m not sure how a team can be prepared for that in the week leading up to practice, but if so, we failed on that as well.
- Because of that heat, it would have helped to have Edwards and Patterson. Edwards’ injury isn’t something anyone can do anything about, but Patterson missing a game because of a discipline reason is disappointing and hurt the Cards today.
- I’d say having Scott Secor attempt a field goal over about 45 yards may not be all that wise.
- Turnovers on turnovers on turnovers. Shades of Buffalo 2008.
The Cards go on the road next week against Eastern Michigan and let’s hope that this is a one-time bump on an otherwise smooth road. The goals many talked about like winning the MAC West and then winning the MAC Championship are still very much alive, and next week’s game is significantly more important for what it means for those. There’s an old adage that eventually everything reverts back to the median, so perhaps this was just karmic payback for all the close coin flip games last season that went BSU’s way. It’s still great to be a Ball State fan, but this one is going to suck for a while.