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Edge Rock Report: First Win Edition

Edge Rock Report

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First Win Edition

It’s been a while for a rock report, but to be honest, I’ve been lacking in my home game attendance lately. Not that I haven’t been with our Cards in spirit (or on the couch), but life has a tendency to get in the way. That being said, I don’t want to just jump into the recent win and say we rocked like a non-stop block of cock-rock. That wouldn’t be entirely true, now would it?

Here’s what really happened. Our team had a multi-million, multi-platinum album on its hands for the first time in 2008. We’re talking Dark Side of the Moon here, folks. Near-modest success for a couple years, then all of the sudden – BAM! The game changes. Welcome to the machine, have a cigar, dear boy.

But instead of following it up with a thought-provoking and in many ways superior Wish You Were Here, we regress to the studio side of Ummagumma, or, God help us all, Atom Heart Mother. Are you getting my Pink Floyd references yet? If not, Wikipedia and Amazon.com are your friends. Or your dad’s record collection – they’ll be the ones that have the faint, nostalgic smell of, um, morning dew.

Here’s what happened to us. We lost our star talent, plain and simple. Going back to my Floydian comparison, it’s like losing David Gilmour and Roger Waters right after Dark Side. The real winning formula is gone, and now the guys on the sideline and the guys with the redshirts have the impossible task of maintaining the success.

Hopefully you got my key word there: impossible. We had the high hopes (pun intended) for the 2009 Cardinals to at least be a West contender. Even Alan and I had them at no worse than 7-5. But that was all pie in the sky – or perhaps a “momentary lapse of reason”. The truth is, at the end of the day, we can sometimes be too big of fans to acknowledge our gut feeling that we may enter into the next Lynch era.

Let’s put this further into perspective. We just won our first game of the season a few days ago. And it was against a team that is arguably one of the worst four or five teams in the nation. Go ahead, try to prove me wrong. And at that, our Cards are probably in the bottom ten as well. Again, prove me wrong.

Yeah, it was great to celebrate on Saturday, but we need to face that reality that we’re not going to be hitting the Dark Side of the Moon level for a while, if ever. I hope to see the day we go 12-0 again (and don’t shit the bed at the end with two embarrassing losses…whatever), but it may not be in the cards.

So what do we do from here? Well, the first thing is we stop making our “Ronald Reagan was president the last time Stan Parrish won” jabs. That streak has fallen, finally. Second, we recognize that brilliance may still be ahead of us. We’ve yet to make our Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. There still seems to be an era of hope on the horizon, and I think we’ll see it sooner rather than later. Simply put, we’ve got the bricks, just no Wall. Yet. Now, I won’t predict another 12-0 in two to three years, but I can tell you we will not be a one-win team this time next year.

We have some seriously talented young men in the system, and once they grow into their roles (mentally and physically); Ball State will be a MAC force again. In two years, this offensive line will be experienced. Our quarterback situation will hopefully be solid. Our backs will be quicker and more experienced as well. I don’t want to start blowing sunshine just yet, but things will get better.

What we need to realize is there is not going to be some miraculous Live 8-type reunion… Roger Waters and David Gilmour may have come back for a one-off, but all our beloved former Cards stars won’t. Like Waters says in Live in Pompeii: “It’s like saying, ‘Give a man a Les Paul and he becomes Eric Clapton,’ you know? It’s not true.” Well, give Kelly Page the ball and he becomes Nate Davis? Give Stan a headset and he becomes Brady? No.

So for now, let’s ride out our bummer 2009 album (although there may still be one more hit single left in this one), and let’s look ahead to the possibilities the next couple years will bring. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a bag of Doritos and Dark Side of the Moon. Rock on.

Edge Rock Report – 9/12 vs. New Hampshire

Edge Rock Report

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New Hampshire

What could I possibly say that hasn’t been said before?  Like Murray says to his band Flight of the Conchords after the only person in the audience sneaks out mid-set, “This is a new low.”

Offense
Someone needs to get me a batch of optimism pills because I’m just not seeing it this year.  Ball State had 127 total yards in the game.  For you guys keeping score at home, 114 of those were through the air.  Carry the 2, divide by the remainder, square the root, and you have 13 yards on the ground.  Thirteen from an offense that really needs the rushing game.

The problem was the o-line, and it’s not going to get any better next week, guys.  I couldn’t help but notice that when the second half started, it appeared we started a center and four scarecrows in BSU jerseys on the o-line. Page was hurried, every rush was busted, and holding calls were frequent.

I won’t sit here and be the Monday morning quarterback here.  I don’t have the answers to this offense.  But I sleep at night knowing that I’m not the only one with no answers.

Defense
You tell me how our defense did.  They gave up 212 in the air and 110 on the ground.  But they did force four fumbles up front, so that counts for something.  And they had somewhere around four sacks, so unlike the offense, it looks like they at least played.

But they were far from where they need to be as a unit.  There’s no way they should have given up so many yards in this game, especially with the talent they have on that squad.  You can fill in the rest of the blanks on this defensive performance in the comment section.

Special Teams
Thank you McGarvey for those field goals. I’m not even being sarcastic… I was impressed with the 47-yarders. The lone bright spot. Isn’t that sad?

Final Score
Ball State: 16
North Texas: 23

Performance: 0 Guitars

Why?
Again, this is a new low. They need to shape up soon or it’s going to be a long season. Much worse than originally thought, that 4th place prediction I had for the MAC West is looking like a severe misjudgment.

Soundtrack to the Game
A sound effects CD full of bathroom noises. Wet farts in particular.

Edge Rock Report – 9/3 vs. North Texas

Edge Rock Report

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North Texas

Well, it happened.  The thing we really kind of half-heartedly joked about all last week became a reality.  It was one of those where you go, “Yeah, we’ll be just fine, should be an easy one,” but in your mind you add, ” at least I hope.”

I’ll echo Alan’s thoughts earlier.  The better team won last night.  It wasn’t a matter of us giving them the game like we did last year in Detroit.  This was seriously a case of the better team won.  Let’s recap a bit on both sides of the ball.

Offense
I think we knew where this one was headed.  It was arrhythmic all game.  When you only get the ball for only 22 minutes, who can blame them?  MiQuale Lewis was the clear offensive star, but his limited touches proves that being the star last night didn’t mean a lot.  It’s been said before, but he should have seen more action.

That brings us to Kelly Page.  I see potential in this kid.  He had to scramble quite a bit, and he did it well.  Most of the passes were play action so that he at least had the option of getting outside the pocket and running if no one was open, which was frequently.

One thing that needs serious attention is his tendency to single out one receiver.  Passing plays are designed to get at least one man open, and if that man can’t get open, you have your second option.  Page didn’t play to that at all.  He knew who was supposed to be open, and I’ll be damned if he didn’t try to get it in despite double coverages.

In all, it was what we expected, and there’s reason to believe things will get better.  But if we have indeed lost Grant to a knee injury, that will be a big blow to this already challenged offense.

Defense
Shockingly bad.  There’s no excuse as to why we weren’t prepared for a no-huddle offense.  None.  And before anyone tries to say they were ready, you obviously weren’t paying attention last night.  North Texas would be seconds away from the snap while we were still looking to the sidelines to see what we needed to do defensively.  It would have almost been comical had it not been the team I was there to see.  All timeouts burned by 5:00 left in the second quarter?  Yeah, nice plan.

The secondary treated the wide receivers like they had freakin’ herpes or something.  They gave them so much space to take those 6-8 yard curl passes that we couldn’t keep them off the field.  North Texas was on the field a total of just over 37 minutes.  That, my friends, is inexcusable.

All in all, aside from Sean Baker’s great catch in the end zone, this defense needs a complete ass-chewing this week.  Coach Graber has a lot of work to do, and it could mean something as drastic as a rebuild.  Everything down to the tackling was ugly.  Seriously guys, your opponents aren’t bowling pins.  Just because you hit them hard doesn’t mean they’ll go down.

Once again, just terrible.

Special Teams
Ray Finkle.  Shoot me now.

Final Score
Ball State: 10
North Texas: 20

Performance: 1 Guitar

standard_stratocaster

 

 

 

Why?
Because, it sucked. It was disappointing. Like seeing Iron Maiden with only one of their three lead guitarists. We all know three to five lead guitarists is the minimum to all bands that really know how to rock.

Soundtrack to the Game
Just go pick something disappointing. Like… when the girl who played Meadow Soprano released an album.  Or how about William Hung’s CD.  Oooh, the new Dylan Christmas album.  Yeah, it’s really happening and will be released on October 13.  Ah, the best yet – a Scott Stapp solo album. That should induce enough pain and nausea to match what last night was like.

Edge’s Ball State Rock & Roll Report Card

Roving OTP reporter Edge gives us his take on the Ball State Cardinals’ most recent performance. Edge’s Rock & Roll Report Card publishes every Tuesday (unless game scheduling dictates a later post) to OTP, as football, like most things in life, is better with music. Enjoy.Ed.

BSU Rock & Roll Report Card: Eastern Michigan

The wins keep coming for Ball State. I won’t lie; it’s still a shock to the system. I explained it to a colleague this way:

Imagine thinking you’re getting $1,000 back in taxes this year. But due to an error (a beneficial one), you’re actually getting $2,000 back. And for some really strange reason, you’re getting checks for $250 each month for the rest of the year because… well, just because.

That’s what this season is like. It’s good news after good news after good news. Ok, throw out the whole Dante Love thing, but you get the picture. Like I’ve said before, when you have followed the Cards through the haze of the late nineties to the early-to-mid 2000s, a perfect 8-0 seems like a dream.

There were some problems, namely with the offense. This is nothing new; we’ve seen it the past few games. Defensively, the Cards will only get that BCS respect with a couple shutouts or single-digit opponent performances in the coming three weeks. Again, work needs to be done. Here are the recaps:

Offense Recap
Slow start once again for this Cardinals offense. Nate Davis seemed to come out a little cold. At one point, he was a mind-bottling six for 13 in passing. That’s not the Nate Davis we’ve seen all year, and it had better get turned around in the next few days.

Kudos for great performance goes to Medaris Grant. Grant caught five passes for a total of 92 yards, a career-best. Sometimes when the offense won’t start one way, you have to try another method. Finding Grant was the momentum this offense needed to seal the deal against a capable Eastern.

Boo to MiQuale Lewis. Nah, just kidding. Seventy-five yards on ten carries is still impressive (7.5 yards per run, you math wizards), but it wasn’t the usual explosive Lewis that came to play Saturday. Keep this in mind: he’s just over 200 yards from a record held since 1994 for rushing. So, let’s hope he gets his due.

Defense Recap
Once again, solid. Sean Baker, you receive the player of the game award. This kid had an impressive 12 tackles, taking him to the top of the Cardinals defense. You can’t help but to watch a game and not be impressed with the way he gets to the ball every time.

Also of high note is the fact that Alex Knipp gathered 12 tackles and one interception. It’s this type of play from a defense led by Baker and Knipp that may help BSU secure a perfect season.

Special Teams Recap:
Chris Miller is really coming into his own this year, and has put up some impressive punts recently. He averaged almost 55 yards on three kicks in that high Muncie wind.

Aside from this, nothing really stands out. Like the solid defense, the special teams unit gets the job done and really does provide the support this (dare I say) stagnant offense needs to finally score some points.

Final Score:
Ball State: 38
Eastern Michigan: 16

Performance: 3 Guitars

Why?
This is still a Cardinals team that seems a bit slow to start. If they want that big opportunity for an 11-0 season, waiting until the second half to start an offensive assault will not get the job done. Northern and Central will gladly feed on the opportunity to draw first blood, and these teams have the capacity to not let up the entire time. The Cards’ offense is only saved by solid defensive and special team units this week. Take those away, and it’s a little nerve-racking thinking we may have to hang our hats on an offense that starts up as rough as a 1978 F-150 in Muncie winter.

Soundtrack for the Game
Under the Red Sky by Bob Dylan. This was a bad album by Dylan’s standards, but there were a couple gems hidden in there. But, like the 2008 Cardinals offense, even a bad Dylan album is better than most others’ best.

Edge’s Ball State Rock & Roll Report Card

Roving OTP reporter Edge gives us his take on the Ball State Cardinals’ most recent performance. Edge’s Rock & Roll Report Card publishes every Tuesday (unless game scheduling dictates a later post) to OTP, as football, like most things in life, is better with music. Enjoy.Ed.

BSU Rock & Roll Report Card: Indiana

First of all, Alan expressed already his thoughts and prayers for Dante Love and his family, and I’d like to do the same. It was a brutal 15-20 minutes for everyone there hoping to see a sign that Dante was alright. For now, we’re all glad that he’s had a successful surgery and hopefully will get to begin his rehabilitation soon.

And now, ladies and gentlemen… the Edge Rock Report.

I had this thought. Going into this game, it appeared IU and its fans had it in their heads that this was going to be an easy one. This is understandable given the history. But confidence and arrogance are two completely separate things (more on that later). Certain Hoosier fans on Saturday reminded me of the band Oasis and the Gallagher brothers. I’ll say late-90s Oasis to be exact – the era of “bigger than the Beatles.” There’s only one difference between them and certain Hoosier fans: Oasis is tolerable.

As for the game, it flat out rocked for a small portion of the 41,349 in attendance. There were a couple soft spots for the Cards. Obviously Love’s injury was a major turning point in the game. The others were two turnovers IU drawing first blood. But whereas IU drew with a pin-prick, BSU answered with the serrated edge of a Jack Hawk 9000 – by the way, it’s the perfect gift for your loved one, available at Walmart.
The offense required only two punts all night but two lost fumbles. Although one punt was blocked, the special teams unit handled IU very well. The defense allowed one offensive touchdown and got one of their own with a Pick-6. Altogether, the Cards racked up 15 yards in penalties to IU’s 77. Mix these ingredients, bake at 350, and you have a delicious victory.

Offense Recap:
5.3. Remember that number as we proceed. Ball State netted 224 yards rushing and 239 yards passing. Average yards per run? 5.3. MiQuale Lewis, you once again played like a champion. The Edge Rock Report gives you an Edge Grammy for a night of hard rocking runs. You netted 170 yards on 29 carries and you scored four times. Congratulations sir.

Nate Davis once again showed his Clapton face. He was calm and cool all night, and when he’s in this mode, he’s not dangerous. There were two passes that he threw which should have gotten picked. These were a result of scrambling, and since they didn’t hurt us – one resulted in a TD – we’ll forgive them. He does need to be wary of these situations when the Cards face up to a good secondary.

As I stated earlier, the punt team didn’t get too much action thanks to this offensive assault. The Cards had every reason to be dejected after losing Dante Love in the second quarter. But they forged ahead and triumphed in the face of adversity.

Defense Recap:
Did you remember 5.3? That’s the average yards per run for IU. The Cards contained IU’s two biggest offensive threats with efficiency. Kellen Lewis did run for an impressive 161 yards. Marcus Thigpen was held to 38. What happened guys? I thought we were supposed to be really worried about you two.

As for receiving, Andrew Means did have 103 on four catches. But IU’s passing game resulted in two interceptions which had to be a bit depressing for those Lewis worshippers. Hey, don’t feel bad. Davis threw two against Navy, so we understand.

Based on these stats, I’d say the defense held their own. They only allowed one offensive touchdown. Knipp and Baker were right where they needed to be when Lewis decided to throw high. And the front line did their part.

They also seemed to sniff out IU’s plays based on formation (thanks Bill Lynch). In most cases, when IU had an empty backfield, Lewis was going to run. I have a lot of respect for his rushing abilities, and holding him and the IU team to 5.3 yards per run is just what was needed to secure this, dare I say, upset.

Special Teams Recap:
Jake Hogue can’t kick for shit. We know. But the other 10 guys did their jobs, and they did it well. IU averaged 16.4 yards per kickoff, and that says a lot for the Cards’ kickoff team. Kudos to you.

The punt team had a minor issue at the beginning of the game with that blocked punt. Other than that, no major issues – especially since our offense kept them off the field.

On the returning end, the Cards had nearly double the amount of average yards per return. They also had two-and-a-half times as many average yards per punt. All in all, great job on special teams.

Final Score:
Ball State: 42
Indiana: 20

Performance: 5 Guitars

(On a scale of 5 guitars)

Why?
As I’ve already said, despite a couple missed notes, this whole team gave a solid performance. For those in attendance for the Cards, we got our money’s worth. It rocked with such ferocity that many of us (Edge included) had left their voices at the game. It’s good to go into homecoming with the momentum from a 4-0 season and a victory against IU. 4-0. Love that sound.

Soundtrack for the Game
I’d like to think I’m a generous guy. So, for the first time, the Edge Rock Report will issue a double-disc soundtrack at the same low price. The first disc is dedicated to the Cards. This disc is different for all of you, because you get to select 12 of your favorite rocking tunes and enjoy it. You deserve it, fans and players both.

Now, for the rest of you I present a soundtrack: Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. What is that, you ask? 64 minutes and 11 seconds of distortion, feedback, and essentially noise vomit. You are all to be locked inside the stadium with this blasting over the PA repeated 22 times. Why 22? Well, it’s one listen for every point by which you lost.

Why am I suggesting this? For a chance to think about your punishment for being arrogant, poor losers. Members of the Edge entourage Saturday are IU fans, and even they were appalled at certain fans’ behavior. Even as we were walking out after the game, we were hit with “Ball State sucks!” and “We gave you that one” by more than a few groups of IU fans. Response? Scoreboard, bitch.

Are BSU fans any better? Probably not. But we with our fiff-rayte edyoukashuns deserve this one, and we’re going to bask in this for a while if you don’t mind. Go Cards, get well Dante, and keep rocking.

Edge’s Ball State Rock & Roll Report Card

Roving OTP reporter Edge gives us his take on the Ball State Cardinals’ most recent performance. Edge’s Rock & Roll Report Card publishes every Tuesday (unless game scheduling dictates a later post) to OTP, as football, like most things in life, is better with music. Enjoy.Ed.

Edge’s BSU Rock & Roll Report Card: Navy

“Tramps like us…”

It really did feel like a rock concert – all the way down to exiting the parking lots. Seriously, how can you have three entrances to a lot and close off two after the game so everyone funnels through one exit? Oh, you wanted to hear about the game, my apologies. In case you were either a) living under a rock Thursday, or b) have a life away from the TV, the WORLDWIDE LEADER was in Muncie, Indiana. And the Cardinals let it be known that this year they’re ready to show the country that Ball State is a little more than Letterman and a punchline.

The energy in Scheuman Stadium was unlike any other game in recent memory. 22,500+ fans actually came to support this Cardinals team. We can attribute this to the TV coverage, but it was clearly an important and thankfully unforgettable game. Kudos to Navy for bringing a good-sized fanbase to enjoy a nice Friday night in Muncie. I can’t talk trash about a team that serves our country. So, thanks guys.

Offense Recap:
“The midnight gang’s assembled
And picked a rendezvous for the night”

This midnight gang is the Cardinals offense. Last week versus Northeastern was the warm-up gig. Navy was the first stop of the tour. This is a very well-rehearsed machine. Nate Davis certainly lives up to the hype, Dante Love is seriously delivering, and what did I tell you last week about MiQuale Lewis?

Allow me to first acknowledge the two interceptions. No one’s perfect. Nate made two bad passes (I called him, he said I can use his first name when I blog about him), and they obviously didn’t hurt the Cardinals too much considering I’m writing this in a relatively good mood.

For the rest, I’ll just run through it briefly: Nate Davis passed for an impressive 326 yards and four touchdowns. Dante Love caught for 162 yards and ran for 37 yards for a total of three touchdowns (one rushing, two receiving). MiQuale Lewis ran for 117. But there were two stats that impressed me more: only one punt all game, and a grand total of …. drumroll …. zero sacks! Oh, Brandon Ifft, if you’re reading this, if you tank another play like the one he did last night…. well, go watch Major League then come back to me. Just kidding. But seriously, catch the ball next time, jackass.

So, I’ll say it again. Keep your eyes on this offense. There are definitely more surprises in store for those of you that read this to get all your Ball State news.

Defense Recap:
“You ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright
Oh and that’s alright with me”


Although it was better than last year, the defense against Navy still had little answers to the four plays they ran all night. Ok, I’m exaggerating – it was five different plays. Four of those were options. Get my drift? Navy had a total of 369 rushing yards, and most of us are thanking Navy for having a completely ineffective passing game.

Again, it wasn’t pretty at all, but it was alright. Two key stops in the red zone kept this game in check and secured the victory. But, as stated last week, work has got to be done up front. Biting too early on the option is understandable two or three times in the first quarter. When it happens two or three times a series, there’s a problem.

The gold star sticker goes to B.J. Hill and his interception late in the game. This pretty much drove the victory home for the Cards. But again, like I said last week, work needs to be done. They can’t wait for B.J. Hill to bail them out every time.

Special Teams Recap:
“And all we gotta do is hold up our end…”

And they did. There were no nightmarish illegal procedures. There were no false starts. And there were no big returns. The best part of it all was there was only one punt the entire game – a 41-yard punt from Chris Miller.

I’m really sorry, there’s nothing much to report here with special teams. I’m actually boring myself writing this. This is the “bathroom break song” of the article – the misplaced slow song in the first set of a concert. We’ll blame it on the bassist, it was his idea.

Final Score:
Ball State: 35
Navy: 23

Performance: 4.5 Guitars

(On a scale of 5 guitars)

Why?

The whole experience was great, and it really was close to a concert atmosphere. The only thing that didn’t rock so much was the defense’s answer to the option. I’ll be in Bloomington in two weeks to see the Cards again, and I require a face-melting guitar solo from our defense. I will accept no less.

Soundtrack for the Game: In case you couldn’t figure it out, the game’s soundtrack belongs to the Boss. No, not Steinbrenner. Born to Run is eight songs of hope from the perspective of a downtrodden cast of characters looking to make things happen by taking control of their own lives on their own terms. This is perfect for Ball State. For years, it’s been one disappointment after another. Now they’re taking matters into their own hands to make the situation the best – but their way. It’s only two games in, but this could be a year we talk about for years to come. Who knows, could be as timeless as that 1975 classic.

Edge’s Ball State Rock & Roll Report Card

The weekend’s done, and we’ll be taking stock of the damage, but until then, this week begins with a thunderous roundhouse kick to the face, as roving OTP reporter Edge gives us his take on the Ball State Cardinals’ most recent performance. Edge’s Rock & Roll Report Card publishes every Tuesday to OTP, as football, like most things in life, is better with music. Enjoy.Ed.

Edge’s BSU Rock & Roll Report Card: Northeastern

Much like determining if a child looks more like the mom or the dad based on the ultrasound, not a lot can be said on how this Cardinal team will look just yet. Northeastern was far from a formidable or legitimate opponent. The Ball State offense had a heyday with their linebackers and secondary, and the defense did a fair job keeping them out of the red zone. This was a glorified scrimmage – a warm-up gig.

Offense Recap: Nate Davis came to the game as Eric Clapton comes to the stage. Calm, cool, and confident, leading an offense that gave up the ball a grand total of zero times. Of course, it’s hard not to when you’re playing Boston College’s rejects. 21 for 24 with 290 yards? Yeah, that’s pretty solid even in practice against no defense. Oh yeah, and he only played three quarters.
The John Mayer “You may not have noticed, but I am a pretty fucking good guitarist” Award has to go to MiQuale Lewis. Believe me when I say you need to watch this guy. He’s not big, but this boy can run. 95 yards on 11 carries – again, that’s good even in practice.

Raging douchebag… good guitarist

Let’s not forget Dante Love. 176 yards on 9 receptions with a long of 49. Of course, this wasn’t exactly a surprise at all. Along with Davis and Lewis, this will be a fun year if all three can stay healthy and perform under the pressure provided by Navy, Northern Illinois, and Central Michigan.

Defense Recap: This was a little rough at the start. While many fans today are dogging the defense’s performance, I can understand what they were trying to do. This was a Who performance circa 2004. Basically, a little sloppy and not as solid, but they’ll play the safe songs just so everyone stays happy and keeps coming back.

What I mean by that is Ball State essentially stuck with a 5-2 or 3-4 defense all game. In man coverage, the secondary gave way too much room underneath, making Northeastern moderately successful on 6-7 yard slants and curls. After Ball State switched to zone coverage, it became less of a problem and forced more punts. Still, with only 2 sacks, improvements up front need to happen soon.

The defensive game plan was not to give up the long ball. Who wants to let 13,000 people down like that? All in all, allowing 14 points is pretty good in your opener, especially with the second and third strings playing the entire 4th quarter. It should be noted that only 7 points were given up by the first string.

Special Teams Recap: What’s the first sign of a bedshitting performance? Would you say an illegal procedure on the opening kickoff? Yeah, it happened. The second kickoff went off much better: offsides on the kicking team. Hey, it was only a five yard penalty this time. I was fully prepared for an upset based on the special teams’ first two appearances.

Luckily, these were the only real hiccups. With stops within the 20-yard line on three consecutive kickoffs, they redeemed themselves and never really let up. The cherry on top was a 72-yard punt return by Darius Hill. While shoestring-tackled by an alarmingly fast punter, it was still impressive.

Final Score: 48-14 Ball State

Performance
:

On a Scale of 1-5 Guitars
Why?
The offense flowed with a greatest hits performance, but the defense took a while to warm up the crowd. The special teams began way out of tune, but came back with a vengeance.

Soundtrack for the Game: “Songs You Know By Heart” – Jimmy Buffett. Nothing even remotely intense, just a safe and cozy album. Just like this album, you knew exactly what you were going to be getting with this game.