COLUMN: Football report card week 8
It was a disappointing Saturday for alumni who returned to Mount Pleasant for the Homecoming football game against the Ball State Cardinals. The Chippewas allowed 464 yards and 41 points against the Cardinals en route to their fourth-straight loss.
Passing Offense: (B) As is usually the case, senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff had a good game statistically throwing for 339 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Senior wide receiver Cody Wilson caught seven passes for 111 yards. He also caught his first two touchdown passes of the season and extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 36, which is tied for the third-longest in the NCAA.
Rushing Offense: (B) The Chippewas ran the ball very effectively against the Cardinals. Junior running back Zurlon Tipton ran for 126 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries; his first game over the century mark since running for 180 yards against Southeast Missouri State on Aug. 30. Sophomore Anthony Garland did not have a carry against BSU and freshman Saylor Lavallii gained just two yards on three carries.
Passing Defense: (C) Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning came into Saturday’s game as the number two passer in the Mid-American Conference. His top target, sophomore Willie Snead, came in as the top receiver in the conference. Considering that, the Chippewas performed fairly well against the duo, holding Wenning to 231 yards passing and three touchdowns. Snead caught six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. It could have been worse, but the touchdown passes came in the red zone. If CMU forces field goals on those possessions, the game might have been a different story.
Rushing Defense: (D) The Chippewas continued to struggle defending the run against the Cardinals. BSU ran for 233 yards and had two different running backs, sophomore Jahwan Edwards and junior Barrington Scott, rush for 130 yards and 101 yards, respectively.
Special Teams: (C) Senior punter Curtis Huge replaced junior punter Richie Hogan last week against Navy. Against BSU, the opposite happened after a 13-yard punt by Huge. Hogan fared much better than last week, averaging 48.5 yards per punt. Senior kicker David Harman went one for two on field goal attempts, missing a 38-yard attempt before easily making a 51-yard attempt. Still, the missed field goal came on the first drive of the game, when CMU desperately needed to score points and punting remains an unsolved issue. The team also got little to no production out of its return game.
Overall: (D) Offensively, the Chippewas put up some good yardage and scored 30 points, but the defense continued to struggle. Radcliff turned the ball over right in the middle of the Chippewas comeback attempt once again. CMU was down early and again and the student section was virtually empty by the start of the third quarter. The schedule gets much easier from this point forward, but it’s going to take a much better effort in all three phases for the Chippewas to turn this season around.