Ball State’s football team defeated Army, 40-14, Saturday afternoon in Scheumann Stadium to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The win marks the third straight year Ball State has defeated the Black Knights under head coach Pete Lembo, and marked Ball State’s first 2-0 start since 2008.
“If you would have told me we would win our first three games against Army – a team that runs the triple option and is a very difficult group to get ready for – I would have told you that would be a bit of a dream. We tried to stay balanced today. It was good to see some shorter throws turn into bigger plays. We are able to respond to big plays by the opponent. The offense comes out and responds well.”
Ball State, which defeated Illinois State 51-28 in the season opener, has scored 91 points in its first two games, marking the most points scored by the Cardinals in the first two games of a season in school history.
“We were without two of our veteran players and some of our younger guys were forced to step up,” Lembo says. “That makes it even more satisfying. The way we do things 365 days a year, we get the next guy ready and we do what we do. We believe in each other and we are working hard to improve our depth.”
Army opened the game with a touchdown not even one minute into the contest before the Cardinals scored 37 unanswered points to take the game in a commanding fashion. After falling behind early, Ball state scored on every possession but one in the first half to take a 27-7 halftime advantage over Army.
Senior quarterback Keith Wenning completed 23-of-32 passes for 325 yards with two touchdowns, and he has now accounted for seven TDs in the first two games – five passing, two rushing. With the 325 yards passing, Wenning topped the 300-yard passing mark for the eighth time in his career and has surpassed the 300-yard plateau in the first two games of 2013.
Jamill Smith, who scored on an eight-yard touchdown reception from Wenning at the 4:29 mark of the first quarter to make it a 14-7 game, tallied five catches for 83 yards. Willie Snead tallied five catches for 64 yards, while Jordan Williams had four receptions for 77 yards. Zane Fakes was the recipient of Wenning’s second TD pass when he caught an 11-yard reception for a score in the third quarter that gave the Cardinals a 37-7 lead.
Defensively, the Cardinals were led by Zack Ryan, who tallied 11 tackles. Michael Ayers and Nathan Ollie registered eight tackles apiece, while Ollie added one sack. Quinton Cooper and Aaron Hepp both had fumble recoveries on the day, while Jeffery Garrett tallied the second interception of his career.
For the day, placekicker Scott Secor was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including a career long 47-yarder at 12:57 in the second quarter. It was the first time Ball State connected on four field goals in a game since Steven Schott went 4-for-4 against Eastern Michigan, Nov. 5, 2011.
Ball State will travel to North Texas Saturday for its first road contest of the season before opening Mid-American Conference action at Eastern Michigan Sept. 21. The Cardinals return home Sept. 28, when they host Toledo at 3 p.m. in Scheumann Stadium.
Army 7, Ball State 0
14:04- Larry Dixon 71 yard touchdown run. Kick good Daniel Grochoiski
3 plays, 75 yards, .56
Ball State 7, Army 7
9 plays, 60 yards, 3:17
Ball State 14, Army 7
10 plays, 76 yards, 4:26
Ball State 17, Army 7
12:57- Scott Secor 47-yard field goal.
10 plays, 54 yards, 3:03
Ball State 20, Army 7
10:40 – Scott Secor 34-yard field goal.
4 plays, 4 yards, 1:24
Ball State 27, Army 7
5 plays, 80 yards, 1:20
Ball State 30, Army 7
10:46 – Scott Secor 19-yard field goal.
10 plays, 52 yards, 4:06
Ball State 37, Army 7
1 play, 11 yards, :6
Ball State 37, Army 14
1:40 – Larry Dixon 9-yard touchdown run. Kick good Daniel Grochowski.
13 plays, 56-yards, 4:37
Ball State 40, Army 14
12:21 – Scott Secor 20-yard field goal.
10 plays, 72 yards, 4:19