If you can’t make it to bowl season, you have to find the positive however you can in the season that you just finished. Such was the case for the Miami-Ohio Redhawks and the Ball State Cardinals on Tuesday night in Muncie as Miami trumped Ball State 28-7 in the season finale for both squads.
Miami (5-7, 4-4 MAC) finishes their 2017 campaign with a road rivalry win and did so in wire-to-wire fashion, scoring 28 before Ball State (2-10, 0-8 MAC) found the end zone in the fourth quarter. It was Ball State’s 10th straight loss and they finish the season winless in the conference. Despite the lopsided score and both teams’ disappointing seasons, there is reason for hope going forward.
For Miami, it was an offensive output led by Gus Ragland, who finished 15-27 for 148 yards and 3 TDs. Jared Murphy led Miami in receiving with 7 catches for 83 yards and 1 TD. The RedHawks were paced on the ground by Jaylon Bester with 8 carries and 67 yards. If the RedHawks can build off this offensive output through the offseason, 2018 is likely to be far more enjoyable.
Ball State had an offensive star of their own, in freshman running back Caleb Huntley who finished with 159 yards on 25 carries. Given the significant amount of injuries the Cardinals faced this season, it allowed young players like Huntley to gain significant game experience. It’s a foundation for the future to be sure, and in reality 2018 can’t go much worse for the Cardinals.
For that to happen for Ball State, the Cardinals have got to improve in the turnover department. Three turnovers tonight meant that despite significant advantages in total yards, time of possession, and first downs, the Cardinals found themselves facing a four-score margin at halftime.
Both teams end 2017 with a brighter hope for 2018 but a bitter taste for this year.