By: Donnie Harmon
Ball State Sports Link
It was perhaps a season-defining performance Saturday for Ball State quarterback Drew Plitt, who dominated on the road as the Cardinals dismantled a very good Western Michigan team by a score of 45-20. Plitt was at the center of the dominant offensive output. While the team rushed for just 65 total yards, Plitt was able to throw for 310 yards and four touchdowns on 15 of 25 efficiency.
Plitt has already established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in Ball State history prior to opting in for an extra year due to Covid eligibility. He had not gotten off to the start that was expected, as he struggled at times during the Cardinals’ 1-3 start to the season. He rebounded nicely in the upset win over Army, and continued that momentum into the game against Western Michigan, as he posted season high numbers.
Plitt set the tone early against the Broncos, as he connected with deep play threat Jalen McGaughy on a long-ball for a 75-yard house call on the first play from scrimmage to put the Cardinals up 7-0 early.
One of the best aspects of Plitt’s performance was his ability to spread the ball around the field and get the ball in the hands of his weapons. A prime example of this was how he got the ball to Yo’Heinz Tyler. Ball State had struggled to get the ball in Tyler’s hands at times early this year, who was a touchdown scoring machine last year. Against Western Michigan, he finished with five receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns, all season-highs.
After the defense forced a big fumble in the second quarter, Plitt found Tyler for back to back receptions that totaled 37 yards and a touchdown that tied the game at 14.
While the defense had some struggles in the first half, Plitt and the offense were able to keep pace with Western, as they headed into the break with a 17-17 tie, as Plitt had already surpassed his previous season high of 233 passing yards.
With the defense dominating in the second half, as they held Western Michigan to just three points, Plitt was able to put the game on ice. After a Western Michigan field goal in the third quarter put them up 20-17, Ball State was able to take control of the game.
Starting at their own 25 yard line, Plitt marched the Cardinals down the field for the go-ahead touchdown. The drive included a big 15 yard run from Plitt on 3rd and 5, and was finished with a 33 yard touchdown pass to Justin Hall. The Cardinals did not look back from there.
After an interception from linebacker Clayton Coll, Ball State was set up at the Broncos’ 32 yard line. Plitt took advantage of the short field, and found Tyler for his second receiving touchdown of the game, this time from 24 yards out to give Ball State their first two score lead of the game.
From that point Western Michigan never threatened, as Ball State closed the game on a 28-0 run to win 45-20 and advance to 3-3 on the season.
It seems like Ball State has hit their stride, in large part due to Plitt returning to his level of play from previous seasons.
“We’ve just got our swagger back, that’s all it is,” Plitt said following BSU’s second straight win.
Plitt and the Cardinals will look to keep rolling next Saturday as they head back to Michigan, this time to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan.