Home-field advantage played a big role in Ohio’s 61-24 victory over the Ball State Cardinals in their week two MAC matchup.
Coach Willie Griffes said playing on their home pitch for the first time this season was a big boost to his team’s confidence, and the score backs him up. Having lost to Northern Illinois on the road the weekend before, this was one the Bobcats needed.
“Getting to finally come home and play in front our friends gave us that extra energy to come out and start early,” Griffes said.
They did that and them some as ten different players score. Captain and No. 8 Chris Schade scored four tries.
“Chris set the tone for our team today and it made people want to step up their game around his performance,” Griffes said.
Within the first ten minutes of the match, it wasn’t looking very good for Ball State. Schade opened the score and then wing Zach Lacure touched down - fullback Pat Van Horn converted both to give Ohio a 14-0 lead. Both kicks by loose head prop Andrew Krummen
Ball State’s Josh Markovich scored his team’s first points from the inside center position to cut the lead to 14-5. No more than five minutes later Ohio’s Shane McNea put on some nifty moves from his flyhalf position to deflate BSU’s confidence; 21-5 with Van Horn’s kick.
After that, it was a back and forth match until the half hit as BSU got tries from No. 8 Matt Young, scoring off a pick from a scrum five meters out, and then Brandon Herber to make it 21-19.
Just before halftime, Ohio flanker Niall McNamara found his way over to make it 28-19 and give his side some breathing room.
In the second half, Ohio kept scoring while BSU struggled to get their first half rhythm back. Starting the scoring for Ohio was, once again, Chris Schade. Van Horn missed his only conversion and the score was 33-19.
After a score from the other flanker Bryan Greco and a Van Horn conversion, BSU scored their lone try of the second half via outside center Chris Ballard. Krummen made the kick for a 40-24 score. But by that time it was far out of reach and only going to get worse.
Putting a lot of bench into the game, the Bobcats ripped off four more tries, two more from Schade, and ran out 61-24 winners.
“We were able to make some good adjustments at the half and that was very key for us going into the second half,” Griffes said. “Moreover, we showed a lot of great balance, besides Schade getting his four, in our pack and backline. This game proved a lot for us. By the way, the scoreboard wasn’t a great indication of Ball State’s effort, they played a great game.”
Coach Eddie Abel said he was pleased with effort, but it just didn’t happen today.
“We struggled to make the adjustments at the half and that was what really ended up being our greatest fall,” Abel said. “We are a very young team and we will continue to grow.”
Next weekend Ohio will have to get back on the road to take on a very confident Central Michigan team, while Ball State has the daunting task of taking on Bowling Green on the road.