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Edge’s Postgame Recap: SEMO

We are undefeated. Let that sink in.

If you weren’t one of the roughly 10,750 fans in attendance last night at the Scheu to see Ball State’s 27-10 win, you missed an awkward yet somehow effective performance against Southeast Missouri State. It feels great to have one in the win column right off the bat, but there were certainly moments where the game felt like it could have gone the other way. Let’s start out with a look at the offense.

Offense
First and foremost, kudos to the offensive line. The weakest part of the 2009 offense has shown immense improvement. I happen to notice, quite a few times, the serving of platefuls of pancakes.

When it came to the rushing attack, we had it down pat, especially thanks to the lanes opened by the offensive line. Eric Williams earned the player of the game honors with 105 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown. But Cory Sykes wasn’t far behind with 70 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns of his own. David Brown also ran for an impressive 31 yards on five carries late in the game. There wasn’t a lot of actionin the Quale department, but he was able to gain 48 yards with an average of 3.2 yards per carry. Don’t worry, this beast will unleash when the time is right.

The passing game was certainly not near as pretty as the rushing game. Kelly Page went 10 for 17 with 85 yards and his first interception of the year. If I could offer one piece of constructive criticism, someone needs to work on his throwing motion. Remember the main issue with Tim Tebow’s motion? Page seems to have the same problem with taking the ball below his waist before firing a pass. One instance of this contributed directly to a fumble, and if a team like SEMO can make this happen, it’s bound to be repeated.

All in all, not a bad debut for the 2010 season, but this engine needs some work. Our OTP Offensive Player of the Game award goes to: The Offensive Line.

Defense
Bipolar much? The first half was just brutal. Although we held SEMO to one scoring drive in the first half, it looked as if we had one game plan in mind and were unable to make adjustments until a completely different mindset appeared after halftime. However, SEMO was able to effectively attack the flats repeatedly, and this perhaps is a downside to the 4-3 we have adopted. We certainly need to get better at swarming to the ball when those short passes happen.

There was an initial threat in the rushing attack, but we did seem to be effective in shutting it down for the most part. SEMO was able to convert most of their third down attempts in the first half, and that’s also something that needs some attention. All in all, we were able to hold them to 237 yards, so that’s something to note.

I’d have to give the defense a C+ for their performance. The first half was tough to watch, but they redeemed themselves. Defensive player of the game: The Grim Reaper of Souls: Sean Baker. Nine tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Num-num-num, the beast is fed.

Final Thoughts
As stated, it’s nice to get that first win. And congrats to the team for making adjustments and easing a lot of visibly confused and shaken fans at halftime. To finish up my callouts, two more standouts from last night include Briggs Orsbon with a blocked punt and Otis “MY MAN” Brown (who got that movie reference?). Brown had four receptions for 30 yards, and he’s going to be one to watch.

With Liberty just around the corner, the defense that showed up in the second half must come out for the entire game next Saturday. As for the offense, a passing game needs to develop in the next week, or this coming game will not turn out like last night. Now that the opening day jitters are in the past, it’s time to get to work and show the rest ofthe MAC that we’re back as a West contender.

Rock on. Game on.

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