By: Donnie Harmon
Ball State Sports Link
It was tough sledding for the Ball State Cardinals in Happy Valley, as they fell 44-13 against the 11th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. In one of the toughest environments in sports, Ball State often looked outmatched, and struggled to get into their usual offensive rhythm, as they were only able to score 13 points, far below what the reigning MAC champs are used to.
Despite this, there were still many positive plays on the offensive side of the ball, most of which were centered around super-senior quarterback Drew Plitt. While he posted numbers that are very pedestrian by his standard, 25 of 39 for 176 yards and 2 interceptions, he made many plays that helped keep the Cardinals within striking distance for as long as possible.
A prime example of this came in the first quarter. Trailing 14-0, and having had back to back 3 and out possessions to start the game, Plitt led the Cardinals on a field goal drive to give them a bit of momentum and keep them around in the game. He made some big plays on this drive, including an 11 yard rush on 3rd and 7, as well as a critical connection to freshman running back Carson Steele out of the backfield on 4th and 4 that went for 21 yards.
Plitt also showed strong poise out of the backfield, and did a good job leading a quick strike offense when deep passes and the running game were not finding success.
Another strong drive for the Cardinals came at the end of the first half, when Plitt led a drive starting at their own 25 down the field for an easy field goal. This drive found Plitt having increased success downfield, as 4 completions went for 10 or more yards, including a beautiful deep ball to Cincinnati transfer Jayshon Jackson that set Ball State up inside Penn State’s 5 yard line.
While it was a struggle overall for the Cardinal offense, Penn State was far and away the most talented team they will face all year, and much can be learned from that experience.
Plitt and the Cardinals will look to get back on the winning track as they head out west next Saturday to take on Wyoming.