Georgia State's victory over Ball State could be a program changing win for the Panthers, or it could prove that Ball State football is still in free fall.
This was supposed to be the year where Pete Lembo led the Cards back to a bowl game, instead it's the season where Ball State can't find much to go their way, and on Saturday the 2015 Ball State Cardinals joined a short list: FBS teams that have fallen to Georgia State:
New Mexico State, Ball State.
Darell Hazell in three years: 5-26 Georgia State: 3-27 Oh, Ball State.— Sam Barloga (@SamBarloga) October 18, 2015
That's a bad list to be on, and despite Georgia State's slow improvements, that list doesn't look like it's going to grow much over the next few seasons.
Ball State has a long way to go if they are going to return to the days when they were challenging for the MAC West title and beating Power Five opponents.
There is no where else to toss the blame, Lembo and his staff are responsible for the failure that 2015 turned into. Georgia State was the better team on Saturday, but that really shouldn't have been the case. Fundamentals, which serve as the backbone of Lembo-coached teams, broke down on Saturday. Ball State gave up over 60 yards of penalties, which the Panthers took advantage of several times.
Georgia State Panthers vs. Ball State Cardinals football recap: Georgia State upsets in Scheumann 31-19
This is only the second time the Panthers have ever beat a FBS team.
The defense did all they could, too. Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle might have gone for 412 yards passing, but Ball State's defense held off the Panthers in the second half, as the unit only allowed one score after halftime.
The defense gave Riley Neal and company plenty of chances to take the lead, often starting near midfield. Those chances were wasted. A touchdown was called back for unnecessary pass interference, and the Cards were only able to turn a Georgia State fumble and a short field into a field goal.
It's time to hold this staff accountable. Neal isn't new anymore, defenses know what he brings to table, and just like this staff did with Jack Milas and Ozzie Mann, they have failed to adjust their game plans to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
As Neal's numbers continue to taper off like Mann and Milas' did, don't blame Riley, blame Joey Lynch and Pete Lembo. They have failed to adjust their play calling, and in the process have been detrimental to the progression of three great quarterbacks.
One can almost certainly say that 2015 will somehow be worse than 2014. This club was supposed to take a step in the right direction, instead they've taken a huge step back.