Apart from the initial defensive gaffes that gave up back-to-back runs of 47 and 27 yards to the Cardinals on their first two plays (30% of their total rushing yards), last night's first half was a case study in Taking Care Of Business. Even more so when you look at some other teams around the division [cough] Auburn, Arkansas [/cough]. 49-3 at the half is just what you want when taking on a MAC team that went 5-7 last year.
Twenty points given up in the second half to go along with 240 total rushing yards allowed is far from optimal, but we were getting a lot of personnel into the rotation for some live game experience. Now that we've processed the whole of yesterday, here's a glance at the overall numbers from Kyle Field last night.
0. Interceptions thrown. This is very good, especially since we had four players throwing passes around. The decisions were good and on target. This is always a positive, even against Ball State.
1. Fumble. Kyler let one slip away in the backfield. He's got to hang on to these, but he's the type of player who's always looking to make something happen and it comes with the territory. The flip side is that he's still incredibly inexperienced and there's plenty of time to tighten it up. That's what nights like last night are for in the long run.
2. Third down conversions for BSU on 13 tries. That's 15%. That's for the whole night, and that's really good.
3. Special teams touches for #3 Christian Kirk. He had 91 total return yards (including a 56-yard punt return) to go along with 43 receiving yards and a touchdown. On fire.
4. Different players with a TD reception. Including a [consults football dictionary] "tight end" whatever that may be.
5. Three-and-outs in the first half. Following that first field goal drive, Chavis regrouped his guys and put on a clinic. Ball State's next seven possessions of the first half resulted in five three-and-outs, an interception returned for touchdown, and a three-play, eight-yard drive that ended when the half expired. If one were inclined to don maroon-tinted glasses for this game, one would simply need to focus on the defense's first-half performance.
6. Tackles for loss. This is not as exciting as the fourteen we had against ASU, but as Chuck pointed out, BSU was really committed to a run game that exploited our tendencies. We still managed one QB sack, and that's good enough for double digits on the season total.
7. Tackles by Shaan Washington. We got to see more of our top linebackers play with Alaka back in the lineup, and Washington was covering the field pretty well. He had a TFL and a quarterback hurry as well.
9. Third down conversions on fourteen attempts. That's 64%. That's good! (The Frogurt at the concession stand costs $9 and takes 30 minutes to order. That's bad!)
11. Players with a reception. Includes trick plays where the quarterback and even the tight end caught balls.
39. Total carries for our three running backs, for 258 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. That's pretty good running of the dang ball.
40. Interception return yards for De'Vante Harris on the touchdown. Hopefully this is the first of many defensive scores for the Chavis defense this season. And hopefully that statement won't jinx us.
48. Number of non-starters who got playing time. That includes a healthy number of freshmen and the second-string kicker.
99.3. Tra Carson's QB rating. With Drew Kaser injured, has a new hero emerged to stand guard in our Internet Heisman campaigning?
361. Total yards allowed. Again, that doesn't look very great, especially after holding the Sun Devils under 300. But when you start looking at some of the totals we gave up to weaker competition at home over the last couple of seasons it looks like a pretty good trend. Example: Rice averaged just about 500 yards against us in 2013-2014.
503. Total yards gained. We still managed to sneak over the 500 yard threshold without any real offensive standouts.
104,213. Attendance. Pretty dang good for Ball State.