It was an unseasonably warm evening in northwest Ohio when Ball State traveled to the Glass Bowl for the last home game of the season for the Rockets. Anyone that has followed MACtion knows what what was coming next.
Toledo won the toss, and deferred. Faith in their defense, I suppose. Ball State moved the ball, but ended up having to punt.
The Rockets took the ball, threw a couple passes, ran a few times, and boom, it was 7 zip.
Ball State got the ball, did nothing. Same with Toledo. Same with Ball State again. Corey Jones took that punt to the house, and the score was 14-0. Ball State got the ball, and then fumbled 2 plays later, setting up a Toledo field goal. Just like that, it was 17-0 early into the second quarter. About the same time, the fog started rolling in.
Ball State ran the ball effectively with the read option, and capped their first scoring drive with a Riley Neal to Corey Lacanaria touchdown pass.
The Toledo offense was stopped on a 4th and 4, and the Cardinals drove for a field goal, 17-10.
After a couple of punts, Toledo was able to get a solid drive together that ended with a Jameson Vest field goal, giving the Rockets a 20-10 half time lead.
Both quarterbacks had a good first half.
Logan Woodside completed 17 of 26 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. Riley Neal went 14 for 24, with 124 yards and a TD in the air. On the ground, he had 8 rushes for 73 yards.
After the opening kickoff and a 1 yard loss on a Kareem Hunt, the Rockets decided to throw a short pass to Hunt. He went 73 yards to take it to the Franko House! (Sorry, we at Hustlebelt are transitioning to basketball season). Not only did it put Toledo up 27-10, it also gave Logan Woodside the most yards passing in a season for a Rocket’s QB. He passed the long time starting QB of the Cleveland Browns, Bruce Gradkowski. One game is a lot for the Browns for those of you that don’t follow that dumpster fire.
After the kickoff, Ball State did nothing, and was forced to punt. Toledo took the ball, and there were good plays, and bad plays. Eventually, the Rockets decided to try a season long field goal for Jameson Vest. Maybe they hoped the refs couldn’t tell if his 49 yarder went through the uprights. The stripes called it good, and it was. It was good from 55.
30-10, the Rockets took the lead.
On the ensuing possession Ball State kicked a field goal. Yay. I am sure their nation of fans were excited, just like the announcers, who clearly could not GAF. This is kind of the problem for the MAC.
Late in the season, nothing to play for, or little, and give up. Busy schedule, weeknight game? Pass.
If you want respect, you have to give respect. The Rockets are playing great football this season. Ball State football players are playing well, and have put forth a ton of effort. Their reward?
A game toward the end of the season where very few people showed up. Toledo won, 37-13 to force a de facto MAC West Championship game against Toledo Nov. 25.
RECAP OVER. I am pissed now. Toledo is going to win this game, as everyone expected. Had the ball bounced in the Cardinal’s way, they could have won. Neal played a gutsy game. So did the rest of the team. But that’s not good enough for the kids that go to Ball State, or Toledo.
WHY SHOULD IT BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE REST OF THE NATION?
Clearly the rest of the nation cares enough to put the game on ESPN 2. They love their football. Give them an atmosphere and they will tune in the rest of the year. Give them the 2k fans in the stands, and they wont.
This is why we can’t have nice things in the MAC. Lack of fan support/sacrifice. Toledo has roughly the population that Columbus had when they built the Horseshoe, for 60k fans. The Glass Bowl can’t pack in 5k. That’s bullshit. Supporting your local team, if it exists, isn’t a tweet, it’s an ass in the seat.
Toledo has a great team, and WMU possibly has an even better team. When they play on a Friday, are they even going to pack the stadium? Terrible that it’s even a debate.