COLUMN: Football needs Kater
Cody Kater, the football team needs you back.
It needs you back badly, with an all-or-nothing scenario ahead of Central Michigan, which has to win to become bowl eligible.
Starting quarterback Cooper Rush has thrown 11 interceptions this season, including one at Ball State on Wednesday.
The worst part is he should have many more.
It was evident even in his best drive of the first half when he compiled 45 passing yards and completed three-of-seven passes, including one to convert a fourth down.
The Chippewas were at Ball State’s 13 on second down and he lofted a pass to Titus Davis, only to have the ball nose dive well short of Davis, who had to swat it away from a defender.
When Rush has more skills to back up his confidence, teams should watch out. Until then, his confidence is his weakness.
On the next play, he was obviously unfazed by his near-interception and tossed the ball, again to Davis, who was blanketed by not one, or even two or three, but four defenders.
Luckily for him, it was yet another dangerous pass that was not added to his already high interception total, and CMU was able to kick a field goal for its only points of the first half.
On the other side stood Ball State’s Keith Wenning, who showed what a good quarterback can do for a team, leading the Cardinals to 31 points in the first half.
In a conference that includes Jordan Lynch, Wenning does not bring much flash, or exiting plays for that matter. He gets the job done, throwing four touchdown passes and completing 20-of-29 passes for 299 yards in the game.
No one is saying Kater is comparable to Wenning. He might not be half as good as one of the best players in the Mid-American Conference. But he's better than what CMU is presented with now.
Look, Rush is not all to blame. He was third on the depth chart for a reason, which was his inexperience.
He continues to show glimpses of how good he could be, with a 26-yard run for a touchdown and a 22-yard passing touchdown after the game was decided against the Cardinals.
A change needs to be made after CMU is notified that Kater is healthy and will not risk further injury.
Enough with the swing passes to the running backs, the costly interceptions and also the lousy pocket presence.
Kater should be a finished product in terms of his acumen at quarterback and knowledge of defensive attacks after going through hoops in his college career.
So, give Kater a chance to finish what he barely started.
CMU has to if it wants to maximize its shot at another bowl bid.