This is something I started doing this year is to cover my thoughts on the performance of the offense and defense in a more detailed way than I have previously and separate from the game recap. Here’s my takeaways from the offense’s performance against Toledo:
- Ryan Autullo of the Toledo Blade called Ball State’s offense simplistic in his preview of the Cardinals’ offense. I would have to respectfully disagree with that characterization. The offense may not be as complicated or rely on exotic formations like some schools like Oregon, but it is hardly simplistic.
- Keith Wenning threw for over 300 yards for the 11th time in his career and has thrown for over 300 yards every game so far this season. He didn’t throw for a touchdown pass, which snapped a nine-game streak of throwing at least two two touchdown passes; no quarterback in Ball State history has thrown for more passing yardage in the first five games of a season than Keith, he already has thrown for 1,650 passing yards.
- Jahwan Edwards may have been kept under the century mark by Toledo, but his three touchdowns were key to the victory. Edwards gives Ball State a power-running workhorse that they sorely missed in the two games he missed due to injury.
- Horactio Banks added another 50 yards on the ground in relief of Edwards. Banks is a quality back up and offers a great change of pace to Edwards, but he tends to get his yardage in spurts and isn’t as good running between the tackles at this point in his career.
- Most offenses would count themselves lucky to have three outstanding skills players, Ball State has three alone in its receiving corps. Willie Snead, Jamill Smith, and Jordan Williams are all capable of leading the team in receptions week in and week out, add in tight end Zane Fakes, Edwards, and Wenning and the offense has an embarrassment of riches.
- Fakes had another quiet day, with two receptions for 11 yards. His production is down sharply from last season, but at some point during the season I expect him to post bigger yardage numbers as defenses attempt to slow down the receivers and leave openings in the middle of the field for Fakes to exploit.
- The offensive line struggled a little in pass protection, giving up two sacks, but did a good job of opening up holes in the ground game. Although the offensive line is probably the Cardinals biggest weakness on offense, that’s due more to how well each skill position group is doing than the unit struggling to do its job.
- Scott Secor nailed his only field goal attempt and did his normal excellent work on kickoffs. After a somewhat rocky start to the season, hopefully Scott is going to solidify that position.