By: Donnie Harmon
Ball State Sports Link
It was a thrilling win for the Ball State football team on Tuesday night as the Cardinals narrowly avoided the upset at Akron, holding on to win 31-25 against the Zips in exciting fashion. Leading the way for the Cardinals defense was safety Bryce Cosby. The fifth year standout finished the game with a team leading 11 tackles, eight of which were unassisted, as well as a game sealing fumble recovery.
Sometimes forgotten in the midst of some of the star offensive players of recent years such as Justin Hall and Drew Plitt, Cosby has been a consistent standout on the defensive end for the past five seasons.
As one of the leaders for Ball State, Cosby has consistently set the tone for the defense, making plays all over the field. One of the hardest hitting players around, Cosby leads Ball State in total tackles (75), and leads the entire MAC in solo tackles with 50. He has also been a massive disrupter in the backfield, with an eye catching four sacks from the safety position, as well as a team leading seven tackles for loss.
It was more of the same from Cosby against Akron, as he was all over the field making plays on both run and pass defense. Cosby was solid in coverage, as not many passes were thrown his way. His biggest contribution, however, was against the running game. Cosby was elite on run defense, recording 10 of his 11 tackles on running plays, as he came up from his safety position to get to the runner early, preventing Akron from breaking big plays in the running game by stopping their runners before they could get a full head of steam going downfield.
Cosby also displayed his ability to make plays in the backfield from the safety position. In the fourth quarter, Cosby anticipated the snap and sacked the quarterback, and while that was called back on a very borderline offsides call, on the very next play Cosby was in the backfield again to tackle Akron running back Jonzell Norrils for a loss of three yards on 2nd down and short.
Cosby’s ability to be in the right place at the right time paid off in a big way down the stretch for Ball State. With the Cardinals 28-10 lead having turned to just a 31-25 lead with Akron in the red zone with under two minutes left, Cosby was a part of the biggest play of the game for Ball State. As Akron quarterback Zach Gibson ran towards the endzone on what looked to be a potential game winning touchdown, Ball State safety Brett Anderson met him at the goal line, knocking the ball out, with Cosby in the right spot to scoop the ball up in the end zone for a touchback. Essentially sealing a Ball State victory.
After the game, Cosby said “I just tried to get to the ball, get involved as quick as possible. It was pretty much me and a lineman, and I just tried to get him out of the way and do whatever I could to get the ball.”
Cosby and the Cardinals will look to get another win in midweek MACtion as they hit the road once more to face division leading Northern Illinois next Wednesday.