Ball State running game looking for answers

MiQuale Lewis' running style has not changed one bit since he came to Ball State four seasons ago.

But something's different this year. Lewis is still bouncing around the offensive line, waiting for the hole to open up.

But this year, the holes aren't there and Lewis isn't getting through the offensive line. It's an unfortunate problem for BSU, but one that needed addressed.

After running for more than 1,700 yards last year, Lewis is set for a precipitous drop in 2009. Through five games, Lewis has only run for 209 yards on 70 carries – shades of 2006 for the Ball State rushing attack.

"It's frustrating but it's football, just got to keep bringing it," Lewis said. "Every run isn't going to be a home run shot. Once you find the crease, you hit it.

"I just got to stay focused and come in here Monday. We know how to win, we won last year, just got to stay focused and worry about our next opponent."

To alleviate the issues, Ball State is trying some other alternatives. Cory Sykes is finally starting to get some carries the last two games and is a threat off the edge. Freshman Eric Williams has emerged as the Cardinals' downhill runner.

And in an interesting twist, the Cardinals ran the Wildcat this week in a 37-30 loss to Toledo with Williams at the QB slot. There was some success with it as well as Williams led the team with 43 yards rushing. Lewis had 24 on 14 carries.

"We wanted to expand on (the Wildcat) earlier in the season but (Williams) was having trouble holding onto the ball," Parrish said. "We've added 1-2-3 things every week. He can run, he can throw and he's obviously a very talented freshman player."

Parrish said they'd continue to use the running back rotation in the future.

"It's hard to get into the groove but we all bring something different to the table," Lewis said. "It works fine we just need to continue to do it."

Also, Kelly Page showed some signs of success running the ball. Although he only finished with 5 net yards, Page had 49 yards on the positive runs he had.

A lot of the blame has gone to the offensive line. With the line so young, the team will continue to go through growing pains until all the team's problems can be figured out.

"We're getting better up front," Parrish said. "It's hard until you see the film. (Lewis) always runs like that. We're going to continue to run by committee. We still got a ways to go blocking."


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