Ball State QB: Ruud's pick was game-turner
BY RYLY JANE HAMBLETON / Lincoln Journal Star
Ball State quarterback Nate Davis pointed to his mistakes, not those of teammates.
“My interception was a dumb decision,” Davis said. “It changed the game. I should have thrown it away. You learn from your mistakes.“
The interception came with Ball State leading 37-28 and right after the Cardinals recovered a Nebraska fumble in Ball State territory. Bo Ruud juggled the ball and then raced 34 yards for a touchdown.
Davis came back to lead the Cardinals to a field goal, but couldn’t come up with the same magic on the final drive after Nebraska took a 41-40 lead with 3:13 left in the game.
On second down, Davis’s pass to Dante Love fluttered off Love’s fingertips near the 10-yard line.
“I put it there, he dropped it and we go to the next play,” Davis said. “Dante’s a great player. He just dropped it. You have to move on.“
Davis tried one more pass downfield to Darius Hill before Jake Hogue came on to attempt a 55-yard field goal. He had the distance but was wide and the Huskers ran out the clock for the win.
“The coaches called a heck of a game. You try to complete every pass,” Davis said. “But when it came down to it, we fell short.“
In a game that resembled a track meet, with more than 1,100 yards of total offense generated by the two teams, defensive Brandon Crawford said he had one purpose in mind.
“Getting to the quarterback was the main thing,” said the 31-year-old former Marine. “Not giving him that time to get rid of the ball, confusing him. Once you do that, it puts the offense off.“
And that is just what Crawford wanted.
“The more we have the ball in our offense’s hands and the more we’re on that bench watching our offense make points, the better it is for us,” he said. “It didn’t go as good as I wanted. Our main goal was to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback and pressure him the whole day. We needed to give a second effort and a third effort if we didn’t get it done right away.“
Coach Brady Hoke said the Cardinals had their chances.
“We had some opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on them when the time presents itself,” he said. “Opportunities don’t come every time you hit the field. We’re very disappointed in the outcome.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow because we had opportunities and didn’t capitalize on those that were there.“
Hoke said there was no question about attempting the 55-yard field goal.
“It was fourth down. Also, he kicked a 65-yarder on Thursday from the same hash,” Hoke said. “He’s got the leg. There were plenty of opportunities before that to make the game more in our favor than that one kick.“
Crawford said that although it was the offense on the field at the end, he was involved.
“At the end I was rooting for the offense. I was trying to keep them motivated,” he said. “Whether I was out there on defense or the offense was out there, I just wanted to keep myself motivated. Stay focused, don’t lose your composure, keep pressing on.“
Reach Ryly Jane Hambleton at 473-7314 or email@example.com.