I think with Friday’s 41-24 upset victory over MAC East Champion Bowling Green that included:
- Bowling Green needing two plays (a 75-yard run a 96-yard kick return) to jump out to a 14-7 lead (after an Ozzie Mann 62-yard TD pass of his own)
- Bowling Green taking a 21-7 lead with 9 minutes to go in the 1st quarter
- Ozzie Mann starting his first game since October 4’s loss at Army in place of injured Jack Milas
we can officially call 2014 the absolute weirdest damn season that I can remember covering this team. Fluke plays, freak injuries, upsets of favorites, being upset as the favorite, this season officially had everything possible. And let’s not forget the record-breaking year and career that Quake Edwards turned in.
For Friday’s game, a game that admittedly both Jason and I thought would end the Cards’ season on a bit of a sour note, it is a ray of hope for fans to take away from this season and the coaching staff to go out and recruit on for the next class. After losing a slew of NFL-caliber talent and a deep senior class, the Cardinals still managed to pull a .500 record in the MAC, which (being honest, here) seemed somewhere just short of impossible after the loss to Western Michigan dropped the Cards to 1-5.
But a funny thing happened on the Cards’ way to irrelevancy this season, as QB1 was bestowed to Jack Milas and the Cards at pulled Ws in four of their last six. There’s plenty of opportunities for the pessimistic fans among us to cherry-pick the games that were basic coin flips that could have easily gone the Cards’ way (Iowa, WMU, and UMass at bare minimum) but that would be overlooking the Cards victories that could have easily gone the other way as well. Plus, it takes away from the stellar finish to this season for this senior class.
It’s funny how as a season progresses expectations and definitions change. If you had told me at the beginning of the season this year would be a 5-7 experience, I’d have been a tad bit unhappy and unsatisfied. Now, after the early losing streak and the (at times) complete unsatisfying experience known as Ball State football, I’m thrilled with 5-7 and just about ready to drive to Muncie to celebrate and tongue kiss whoever I see. Alas, it’s Thanksgiving break, so that would be a fruitless endeavor.
Friday’s BG win was a return to the Cardinal brand of football we have come to sort of expect and get awfully used to. It was a balanced attack through the air and the ground, and kudos to Joey Lynch for putting together a gameplan and playcalling that allowed the Cards to thrive. The Cards had no turnovers, no significant mistakes or penalties, dominated the time of possession, and most importantly in the second half: got the hell out of Quake’s way.
Edwards finishes his Cardinal career in true Quake-ian fashion, gashing the Falcons for 165 yards and 2 TDs. It is a fitting end to the career of the school’s career rushing leader, career rushing TDs leader, and career attempts leader. They don’t make ’em like Quake much anymore, so count your blessings you were able to see him play.
The focus around these parts will shift a bit over the next few weeks to season recaps, lookaheads to the NFL futures of our graduating Cardinals, and trying to put an appropriate bow on this season. We’ll be there right there with you for all of it. More on BG tomorrow, but for now, it’s just enjoying this win, some leftover turkey and such, and just generally being in a much more pleasant mood than I expected to be at this particular juncture. So thank you Cards, for this game, this season, and everything else. Final word tomorrow, Go Cards!
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