Ball State is on a “revenge tour.”
“We haven’t really had a standout MAC record over the past couple years,” redshirt senior linebacker Jacob White said. “That’s something that we want to even out, and it’s something that fuels us every day.”
Essentially, the Cardinals (4-3, 3-0 MAC) are out to beat every team in the Mid-American Conference, and after Saturday’s 52-14 win over Toledo (4-3, 1-2 MAC), they became the lone team undefeated in MAC play.
In head coach Mike Neu’s first three years at Ball State, his teams had a combined conference record of 4-20. What makes this team different, Neu said, is effort and determination.
“Winning is contagious, and it’s a great feeling,” Neu said. “We were determined to chase that winning feeling today and make sure that we executed the way we know we’re capable.”
The Cardinals did more than just win. What was displayed in front of 15,113 fans inside Scheumann Stadium — many of which were alumni for Homecoming — was dominance.
At halftime, the Cardinals were up 38-0, which, if the game ended there, would have been their second-highest scoring game of the season. Only three of their first-half offensive drives didn’t end in points, and the defense allowed just 24 yards.
“As soon as the game got started, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re about to do what we need to do,’” sophomore cornerback A.J. Uzodinma said. “I felt like we were going to beat this team [and make it] not even close.”
Toldeo came into Saturday with the MAC’s best running game and individual rusher in Bryant Koback. The Cardinals held the Rockets to just more than half of their rushing average and Koback to only 38 yards.
Ball State also flipped the script on the ground offensively, more than doubling its own rushing average.
White said Saturday was the most complete game he’s ever been a part of at Ball State, and Neu agreed.
“It’s one of the more complete efforts that I can think of, certainly in recent memory, and it’s awesome to have that,” Neu said. “That’s what you strive for—to play a complete game. You want to play well in all phases … I’m really, really proud of just the effort, the focus, the attention to detail from the guys top to bottom.”
Ball State has now beaten Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan and Toledo—teams that took down the Cardinals by a combined 62 points last season. Almost all of that was gained back in the last three weeks as the Cardinals had a 51-point advantage in those games.
As far as what’s in store for the rest of the season, Uzodinma said Cardinal fans can expect more of the same.
“We’re going to give it our all every game no matter what,” Uzodinma said. “Almost every team in the MAC beat us last year, so we’re really coming for our revenge. We call it our revenge tour. We’re just going out there trying to do what we can to try to get the W on the scoreboard.”
The Cardinals’ next gig is 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 in Scheumann Stadium against Ohio, who beat Ball State by 38 last year.
Contact Zach Piatt with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.