It was a tough loss for the Broncos Tuesday night after Ball State stopped WMU from converting a two point conversion in overtime to win 42-41. From my vantage point, there were plenty of positives. It was a good game between the teams with both offenses scoring and racking up yards. In the end it was a very tough loss for WMU, as they were favored coming in to the game and needed a win to keep their MAC West dreams alive.
Here’s what I saw from the game.
Back to Basics
WMU got back to what they’ve been really good at the last couple of years: running the ball. The Broncos piled up 331 yards rushing, using a lot of two tight end looks; either in a Wing-T formation or with both tight ends stacked on one side off the ball. The offensive line did a much better job than in previous weeks with getting a push.
LeVante Bellamy lead the way with 213 yards and a TD and Jamauri Bogan had a very nice game with 105 yards and 2 TDs.
It’s so fun to watch LeVante run with the way he uses his speed and having Jamauri as a compliment to him has been a luxury for WMU. Bellamy’s huge game put him over 1,000 yards for the year (he leads the MAC) and Bogan’s two TDs extended his lead for rushing touchdowns in the conference.
Hats off again to the offensive line and tight ends and to Coach Lester for a nice game plan. WMU controlled time of possession and was able to respond well to Ball State’s scores with composed, balanced drives.
It was another tough game for the WMU defense and it ended up getting defensive coordinator Tim Daoust fired.
To be honest, I don’t feel that they played that terrible. They were able to force a couple turnovers and they made a couple of timely stops. The defense also held Ball State to 67 yards rushing, which is pretty outstanding.
Unfortunately, some of the same issues we’ve seen all year showed up like struggling in coverage and tackling. Ball State’s offense worked pretty exclusively through the air with 282 yards and 3 TDs.
It’s hard to remember that the defense is young with three new linebackers and some new defensive backs, but we haven’t seen a lot of improvement out of them this year. A change was necessary and we will have to see how the defense will improve going into the possible bowl game/next season.
Tim Lester made the call to go for the win in overtime, and I totally agree with his decision.
Obvious possible motives for the call: WMU had been running the ball well all night; Lester didn’t have faith in the defense.
You’ve gotta be able to get the two yards necessary, and the play that they called had worked throughout the game (it did fail on a previous fourth down however, and didn’t really appear to work that well in the red zone). It’s something that if it works, everyone loves it and if it doesn’t they hate it. Obviously since it didn’t work we all wish Lester would’ve called something different like a QB keep or RPO looking for Gio or Jayden. It didn’t work out, oh well.
Looking at the defense, they had just given up the go ahead score after Ball State picked up a chunk of yards on the first play of OT. I don’t think anyone watching thought WMU would be able to come up with a stop.
It hurt to lose the game like that but it’s all good experience for the team and for Lester and the staff.
Hats off to Kaleb Eleby. He pretty much did what Coach Lester asked him to in handing the ball off a lot and making sharp, short throws. He did miss a throw at the end of the first half that would’ve been a touchdown to Dee. He made a great throw to Gio on 4th and 8 late in the game to pick up a first down. Eleby has some zip on his throws and was able to use his feet a little bit. I’m very excited for his future.
LeVante Bellamy had a huge game, but he fumbled twice, losing one of them. I guess it’s harsh to criticize him when he did so well, but you can’t fumble the ball. Someone once said, “The ball is the program.”
Backpacking off of that, WMU needs to be more disciplined. I know Kaleb is still new at QB, I know that you’re going to have penalties, but there were a couple of false starts that killed at least one drive. We have to eliminate that.
Nice job by Gavin Peddie on his kicks.
That’s a Wrap
Well, it was a disappointing result for WMU. I’m overall happy that they came out and looked better than they did against Ohio. It would’ve been great to win – and we probably should’ve won – especially with NIU losing to Miami. We also could’ve really used a win to up our bowl stock.
One last go around on Tuesday against NIU. Let’s see what we can do against the Huskies.
Thanks for reading!