MUNCIE, Ind. — Matt Campbell said in the past his University of Toledo football team will never rank among the leaders in the Mid-American Conference in fewest penalties yards.
Campbell wants his players to be aggresive, and if the end result is an occasional flag, so be it.
On Saturday, penalties were not an occasional sighting. Flags were flying all over the air at Scheumann Stadium.
Campbell’s team was penalized 10 times for 96 yards, a factor that was as critical as any in Toledo’s 31-24 loss to Ball State.
"I think I’m going to take the fall on those penalties because obviously I’m not doing a good enough job of coaching our kids on the techniques and what we need to do to get better," Campbell said.
Twice the Rockets were penalized inside BSU’s 10-yard line in the second half, for illegal formation and for a false start. They walked away with a touchdown on one of the drives, a turnover on the other.
Cornerback Cheatham Norrils, for the second time this season, was twice called for pass interference in the end zone. Both penalties were soon followed by touchdowns. He wasn’t alone. Cornerbacks Cameron Cole and Jordan Martin were nailed for pass interference on touchdown drives as well.
The silliest penalty came on the opening drive when Bernard Reedy was called for unsportsmanlike penalty after he stood over an opponent he bowled over and began gyrating his arms. A promising drive soon ended.
"Penalties always are going to cost us," quarterback Terrance Owens said. "We had a lot of opportunities, and we just left them out on the field."
The Rockets came into the day ranked eighth of 13 MAC teams in penalty yards. They were averaging about six penalties per contest, getting as many as 11 two weeks ago against Eastern Washington and just one at Central Michigan.
RUSSELL’S BIG DAY: Owens developed a nice chemistry with Alonzo Russell on a second-half scoring drive, hooking up three times before Russell pulled in a 10-yard catch in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Russell tied his career high with nine catches for 147 yards, marking the third time in his career and first time this season the sophomore went over 100 yards. He and Owens connected on deep posts on Toledo’s first plays of the first and second halves resulting in gains of 38 and 25 yards.
"I’ve been doing extra work with him, watching film at his house and little things like that to form a chemistry," Russell said.
REEDY’S UNEVEN DAY: Reedy hauled in a career-high 13 catches but managed to turn them into just 37 yards because of a BSU secondary that took away Toledo’s vertical attack. Reedy had a long gain of seven yards.
DISRUPTIVE SYLVESTRE: Junior Sylvestre scored a touchdown in back-to-back weeks and recorded a turnover for the third straight week. Sylvestre scooped a loose ball in the first quarter and raced 23 yards to give Toledo a 10-7 lead.
In the second half, Sylvestre tipped a pass into the air that Ross Madison intercepted. His 10 tackles led the team.
HADEN DEBUTS: Safety Jordan Haden made his debut after injuring his collarbone in camp. He did not record a tackle but played on special teams and on defensive speciality packages.