WEST POINT, N.Y.- The Ball State football team (6-3) became bowl eligible for the second straight season under the tutelage of second year head coach Pete Lembo after its 30-22 road win at Army (1-7) Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium.
"This is a special win at a special place," Lembo says. "It was a great opportunity to play here and the win was the result of a very solid effort in both halves. We got off to a really good start and that was a critical element of our game plan."
Sophomore halfback Jahwan Edwards rushed for 148 yards with one touchdown. Edwards has now surpassed 100 yards rushing four times this season and it marked the sixth time in his career to accomplish that feat.
Junior quarterback Keith Wenning ended the day with 189 yards passing off of 27 attempts and 18 completions along with two touchdowns.
Senior kicker Steven Schott nailed a 37-yard field goal for his third field goal of the contest to make it a two-possession game at 30-20 with 4:52 to play. The field goal marked Schott's 20th of the season and is good for second place in Ball State's single season record books.
Senior middle linebacker Travis Freeman led the team with 13 tackles and also forced a key fumble. Army was marching down the field late in the second quarter until Freeman forced the Black Knights to fumble on the BSU 28-yard line. Senior linebacker Kenneth Lee recovered the ball and Ball State took a 17-10 lead into the half.
The teams exchanged field goals in the third quarter and touchowns early in the fourth, including KeVonn Mabon's first career touchdown catch from Wenning. Schott's late field goal made it a two-possession game, and the Cardinals' took a safety on the final play of the game for the last two Army points.
"We were able to go up 27-20 and then got a huge stop from our defense," Lembo says. "We then got a score from our offense. Our guys handled the highs and lows from the game very well today."
Ball State took the lead early in Saturday's game and never gave it up. The Cardinals scored touchdowns on their first two possessions with a Wenning scoring strike to junior receiver Jamill Smith on the opening possession and an Edwards' 2-yard TD run on the next. Edwards' score was his 20th rushing touchdown in 21 career games. He ranks ninth all-time in the Ball State record books.
Both Army touchdowns on the day came on the ground with one from Hayden Tippett in the first quarter and one from Malcolm Brown in the fourth. The Black Knights used their run-heavy offense to rush for 341 of their 379 total yards in the game.
Ball State has now defeated Army two years in a row, with the Cardinals winning last season's meeting by a 48-21 score in Muncie.
The last time the Cardinals have been bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons was in 2007 and 2008 when Ball State played in the International Bowl in Toronto, Canada, after the 2007 season and the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., after the 2008 campaign.
The Ball State football team will be back in Mid-American Conference action when it travels to Toledo Tuesday, Nov. 6 for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
Ball State 7, Army 0
9 plays, 75 yards, 3:10
Ball State 14, Army 0
12 plays, 60 yards, 4:11
Ball State 14, Army 7
1:50- Hayden Tippett 7-yard touchdown run. Daniel Grochowski kick good.
9 plays, 76 yards, 3:54
Ball State 17, Army 7
14:16- Steven Schott 49-yard field goal.
7 plays, 43 yards, 2:34
Ball State 17, Army 10
5:22-Daniel Grochowski 24-yard field goal.
12 plays, 72 yards, 5:03
Ball State 17, Army 13
10:56-Daniel Grochowski 45-yard field goal.
9 plays, 45 yards, 3:57
Ball State 20, Army 13
4:12- Steven Schott 29-yard field goal.
16 plays, 70 yards, 6:37
Ball State 27, Army 13
8 plays, 70 yards, 3:33
Ball State 27, Army 20
10:53- Malcolm Brown 15-yard touchdown run. Daniel Grochowski kick good.
7 plays, 73 yards, 2:38
Ball State 30, Army 20
4:52- Steven Schott 37-yard field goal.
11 plays, 53 yards, 3:05