Ah, the dreaded “trap game”. Where one team, the supremely talented and clearly better one has an unexplainable collapse against a team that in no way shape or form should be competitive. For the two MAC front-runners in BSU and NIU, it’s a cavalcade of trap games until the two square off on November 13. NIU has had their share of trap halves, with Jordan Lynch pulling their fat from the fire via his rushing game in the second half (see: Saturday vs. Central Michigan). For BSU, Kent State certainly was an ugly win and whether that was a hangover from Virginia or the Cards not taking someone seriously on Homecoming or something else entirely, that was clearly not an outstanding performance. A win? Yes. A sigh of relief afterwards? Another yes.
I think most of us on Saturday were looking for a statement and a statement is exactly what we got. The Cardinals’ opponent was clearly over-matched, unprepared, and unable to stop the BSU juggernaut, and the Cardinals took advantage of that from minute one. The 38-17 decision, which move the Cards to 7-1 and 4-0 in the MAC while dropping WMU to 0-8 overall and 0-4 in the conference was exactly what the Cardinals needed to get the hype train back on the tracks, the fans back dreaming of Detroit, and the showdown on the 13th of November that much more elevated.
Bottom line, the Cards did what needed to be done against an opponent that they needed to do it against. For all the tomfoolery and ballyhoo about PJ Fleck and his boats, this WMU team could have submarined the remainder of the season for the Cards by handing them an unexpected loss. It’s the MAC. That kind of thing is known to happen. But Saturday saw the universe unfold exactly as it was supposed to. A superior BSU team gathering momentum as a team of destiny, really, went on the road and exerted their will and dominance over an unworthy opponent. So, the Final Word for WMU is…
- able to be foreseen or predicted
Some other thoughts on the victory:
- Keith Wenning became the school’s all-time leading TD passer in the victory on his way to 324 yards and 3 scores. It’s amazing to me that a BSU QB can put up 325 and 3 TDs and everyone’s just like, “Oh well, another day at the office for Keith Wenning”. When I was in school going through the Lynch/Talmadge era, if someone threw for 325 and 3 TDs we’d maybe throw a party on McGalliard. We probably would regardless, but at least this time it would be reasonable. Wenning’s 14 300-yard games is a school record total.
- Willie Snead added another TD to his haul and that makes 8 for the season and 19 for his career. He’s in 4th place for in school history for career receptions and career yards, and 5th in receiving scores.
- Getting Zane Fakes back involved on the offense was my biggest takeaway from Saturday. 6 catches, 54 yards, and a score is a great line for a tight end, and the more Fakes is a credible threat, the easier it’s going to be for Snead and Jamill Smith to get open looks on the outside.
- Aaron Hepp? Extra pudding cups for you, this week. Redshirt freshman comes in and makes two grabs for 29 yards out of nowhere and had hopefully people other than me scrambling for a media guide to see just who he was.
- How about the defense? For the majority of the game, WMU was held to only three points, and though plays went for positive gains and a time or two a big one at that, on the whole, the defense played remarkably well. Holding WMU to 3 of 14 on 3rd down conversions is a great sign that this defense can hold when need be. One of the most remarkable things about 2008 was their inability to do that at critical times.
- I was a little surprised that BSU only accumulated 159 yards on the ground. WMU’s pass defense was a virtually untested unit, highly ranked but never tested. Their run defense was porous to say the least, but the gamble paid off in the form of a 3 TD win. Though, for pure record’s sake, I wouldn’t have minded Jahwan Edwards putting some distance between him and the other national backs in TDs scored on the ground. With his 92 yards and 1 TD, Edwards finds himself slipping to 3rd nationally in TDs scored. I’m not saying “Quake for 6” should be a thing, I’m not saying it shouldn’t.
- Speaking of 6, 6 penalties for the Cards on Saturday was very uncharacteristic. There were no significant penalties but it still sort of stood out post-game in the box score as one of those stat oddities that you don’t see coming.
Saturday sees the Cards travel to Akron for their final Saturday game of the 2013 season. It would be easy to take their record and write the Zips off as not a credible threat, but that would be very wrong. More on them upcoming. For now, it feels damn good to be 7-1. Go Cards!