Takeaways from the Cardinals’ 22-12 loss to Toledo


MUNCIE, Ind. – There would be no miracle in Muncie.

With four seconds remaining, Ball State (1-3, 0-1 MAC) had one last chance to try and score their first touchdown of the game against Toledo (2-2, 1-0 MAC) in the game. opening of the Mid-American Conference. Eight full-backs and a one-yard loss later, the game ended in a 22-12 Ball State safety and loss.

Ball State had plenty of chances going before that last prayer of a game. The Cardinals’ defense, for the most part, played a solid game. Ball State’s offense led the ball but failed to come away with a single offensive touchdown.

The Cardinals have now lost three straight games, including their first conference game.

Pre-match:5 things to watch out for as Ball State football hosts Toledo to open Mid-American conference

More pre-match:Ball State football remains confident in Drew Plitt; the veteran QB has confidence in him

Here are three takeaways from loss:

Missed opportunities

Ball State's Drew Plitt feels a ball during a game against Toledo at Scheumann Stadium on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

Ball State and Toledo made mistakes. Toledo benefited more.

For the Cardinals, there were some obvious mistakes: with 7 seconds left in the first half and Ball State on Toledo’s 14 with no downtime and a chance to come close to two with a shot for a field goal, Drew Plitt s ‘rushed to the right and let the clock expire as he threw the ball out of bounds. With Ball State’s offense early in the second quarter, Plitt fumbled after winning what would have been a first down at Toledo 39. Then, of course, there were Toledo’s two big offensive plays that marred an otherwise solid performance from the Cardinals’ defense. .

Then there were Toledo’s mistakes: Toledo failed to convert on a fourth and 1 of their own 31s in the second quarter and Ball State settled for a 29-yard field goal from Jacob Lewis on the disc that followed. Toledo, which is the fourth most penalized team in the Football Bowl division, committed seven penalties for 61 yards and Ball State tied it with seven penalties for 55 yards. Toledo kicker Thomas Cluckey, who had never missed a field goal in his career, missed a field goal for 41 yards at the end of the third quarter. Ball State went 3-and-out on his next possession.

There were other opportunities, big plays that Ball State looked like they could take advantage of and chances to get into the end zone. But, once again, the Cardinals’ offense failed.

Explosive games make the difference

Ball State will face Toledo at Scheumann Stadium on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

On his first four drives, Toledo had 159 yards, including 139 on a pair of first-half touchdowns – a 69-yard pass from Carter Bradley to Devin Maddox and a 70-yard touchdown run from Dequan Finn on the third and 11 – which put the Rockets in the lead, 14-9.

Turns out 14 points would be all Toledo would need to beat Ball State, who settled for four field goals on five red zone records. In the first half, the Ball State offense edged Toledo and implemented more intensive training. Toledo was able to move the ball better in the second half, but Ball State forced the Rockets to be content with field goals throughout the third and fourth quarters.

Toledo (272 yards rushing, 6.2 yards per carry) executed the ball effectively even without Finn’s 70-yard boost. Ball State’s offense, especially his passing play, looked good at first, but Justin Hall (97 receiving yards, 64 rushing yards) was the only Ball State player to gain consistent yards offensively. .

In the end, the big plays – although there were only two that led to two touchdowns – proved to be costly for the Cardinals.

Justin Hall becomes Ball State’s all-time receiving yard leader

Ball State's Justin Hall jumps over a Toledo defender during their games at Scheumann Stadium on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

Have another record, Justin Hall.

Hall, the fifth-year senior from Douglasville, Ga., Caught a 30-yard pass late in the second quarter to surpass Dante Ridgeway’s career record 3,030 yards (2002-04). Now Hall, who is the NCAA’s active leader in career receptions and back-to-back receiving games (47) is Ball State’s all-time leader in receptions and yards. Hall, who has received 15 career touchdowns, is tied for eighth on Ball State’s career touchdown list. While he may jump a few spots before the end of the year, he likely won’t be able to reach Darius Hill’s record of 31 (2005-08).

In the 47 games Hall played in a Ball State uniform, he caught at least one assist in each of them. Four games into the 2021 season, Hall has totaled 3,061 career receiving yards on 284 career receptions. Since joining Ball State in 2017, Hall has been the X Factor for the Cardinals. On Saturday, he made up 51.6 percent of offensive yards.

Robby General covers high school athletics in Ball State and East Central Indiana for The Star Press. Contact him by email at [email protected], on Twitter @generaljr or call 765-283-8864.

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