Ball State has had to play with rough weather in their last two Mid-American Conference (MAC) games. There is another similarity as both ended with the Cardinals falling. Most recently, it was a 13-6 loss to Toledo.
Here are four takeaways from Ball State’s sixth loss of the season.
Kelly took his first start at quarterback
Ball State has had three different quarterbacks start this season. In the loss, redshirt sophomore Kial Kelly took the field. While he’s played in every game, this was Kelly’s first start for the Cardinals.
During the first half, Kelly went 3-for-9 with 10 passing yards. He finished the contest going 4-for-16 with 38 passing yards. During the fourth quarter, Kelly found redshirt junior Amah Edwards for a 28-yard completion, which went as the longest completed pass of his career.
Kelly has been used heavily on rushing plays, and with the heavy rain that covered Scheumann Stadium, that’s what he did today. He had 18 carries for 98 rushing yards, which was a career-high.
Ball State’s offense was somewhat quiet
When it comes to offense, the Cardinals have been very limited this season in that regard. With the poor weather, today’s game was more of the same.
The passing game ended when the rain arrived, and the run game became the focal point for the Cardinals. In the first half, Ball State used twenty carries to gain 96 rushing yards.
The second half continued to see the ground game being used heavily as Ball State added another 18 rushes, which gave them a total of 167 rushing yards. After Toledo scored the touchdown that would be the difference maker, the Cardinals attempted to go back to the air.
However, that plan was unsuccessful as Ball State went 0-for-3 on its final drive. One of those incompletions included a wide-open drop by redshirt sophomore Rico Barfield which was followed by an interception by the Rockets.
Ball State’s defense did some damage
Multiple Ball State defensive players have said the communication on the defensive side of the ball has been strong. Against Toledo, the Cardinals’ defense might have proved that.
In the first half, Ball State only allowed 60 rushing yards. The only struggle during the first half was containing the pass game. The Rockets went into halftime with 83 passing yards. The Cardinals also forced their first fumble recovery since the third week of the season when Ball State defeated against Indiana State.
Coming out of halftime, Toledo had some momentum as they marched down the field. However, the Rockets found themselves facing a fourth and nine. Deciding to go for it, the Ball State defense was ready and helped force an incomplete pass.
Later in the third quarter, the Cardinals had the Rockets’ offense backed up to their end zone following a great punt by junior Lucas Borrow. Once again, Ball State stood their ground, forcing a punt by the Rockets.
Special teams came to play
When a punter has a good day, that could mean that their team had a bad day. In this case, Ball State used Borrow’s solid day to keep Toledo away from their endzone.
The junior had six punts for 252 yards with his longest punt being 55 yards. One of his punts was downed at the two-yard line by the Cardinals.
When it came to scoring, both competitors used their kickers to add points to the scoreboard. Ball State’s freshman Jackson Courville drained a 28-yard field goal and was successful on a 26-yard attempt.
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