Daric Clemens is a senior journalism news major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper.
Everything seemed to be headed in the right direction for Ball State Football as they were the team to beat in the Mid-American Conference after completing a three-game winning streak. However, the tides have turned as its hot streak came to an end.
The hopes of a rather successful season are slipping away from the Cardinals’ football team. A team that was so high has hit the ground hard following a three-game losing streak which knocked them out of reach of a MAC Championship bid. A game Ball State hasn’t been a part of since 2008.
Their most recent defeat to Central Michigan was the most upsetting as they controlled the game almost all the way through leading 41-24 at one point. But when it mattered most, the Chippewas snatched away the Cardinals’ optimism, snapping a losing streak.
Situations like this are something that can destroy a team’s confidence towards the end of a season as they failed to achieve a goal, but one objective still remains a possibility for Ball State. If they can win out, they will become bowl eligible and for a team that hasn’t competed in a bowl since 2013, this should be used as a driving force of motivation in their final two games.
However, from a fan standpoint, the way the backend of the season has unrolled so far has been completely disappointing.
As a student in my final year at Ball State, everything hasn’t been done with flying colors for the football team in the past three years, which lead to me starting to lose interest in following the team consistently. However, I was brought back to being invested this season as I was convinced by the way the team was playing together as a complete unit and there was some added excitement to watching the games.
Everything seemed to be coming along as the offense and defense were both jointly putting on balanced performances. There have been many highlights such as the way junior running back Caleb Huntley has progressed into a 96.4 yards per game rusher, redshirt junior quarterback Drew Plitt tossing 20 touchdowns in 10 games. The defense has forced a decent amount of turnovers with a total of 12 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries so far.
There have definitely been bright spots that have made me excited for the way that this season was headed, but the three-game losing streak has stalled the sudden thrill of this year’s team. They find themselves with only four wins, with arguably the best team in the MAC Miami left on their schedule, just like last season, when they finished with a 4-8 record.
Nevertheless, there’s still some hope hanging by a thread that this team can flip the script and get back on the right track. The talent is there and they have proven that they have the ability to perform at a contending team level in conference play. I’m optimistic that it will carry over in their final two games.