MUNCIE, Ind. -- Ball State’s football team tallied a 31-24 victory over Mid-American Conference West Division rival Toledo Saturday in Scheumann Stadium to improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in league play. The Rockets fall to 2-3 on the year and 1-1 in conference action.
“We told the guys two things Sunday -- one was we had a home game this week and number two was we needed to go out and have a good Tuesday practice,” third-year head coach Pete Lembo says. “We had a decent week of preparation. We have guys practicing harder with a little more focus, a little more detail and a little more sense of urgency. Usually what you see out on the field is a byproduct of that. “
This marks Ball State’s first 2-0 league start since 2008, and a seventh straight league win dating back to the 2012 season.
“We came out and started really strong on both sides of the ball,” Lembo says. “We did some good things on special teams early in the game. We tackled really well, especially in the first half. They leaned on us a little bit in the second half but it was still pretty good keeping things in front of us.”
After opening the game with a two-yard Jahwan Edwards touchdown run, Ball State becomes the only team in the country to score a touchdown on its opening drive in all five games this season. Edwards added another rushing TD in the second quarter to give Ball State a 17-10 lead over Toledo, and a third score with three minutes remaining in the game for a three touchdown game and a 31-24 Ball State advantage. It marked the seventh career multiple TD game for Edwards and his fifth career game with three scores.
In a game that came down to the fourth quarter, Toledo tied the game 17-17 with 14:56 to play when Terrance Owens threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell.
Ball State answered quickly to take the lead after Wenning ran the ball in for seven yards to put the Cardinals back on top 24-17 with 12:11 to play in the game. The Rockets quickly scored again to knot the game at 24-24 at the 6:20 mark, but Ball State would march down the field allowing Edwards to run in a four yard game winning score with 3:01 left on the clock.
We wanted to win the fourth quarter because we knew we would be in a really tight game,” Lembo says. “We were able to get some really good kickoff returns in the second half after a bunch of touchbacks. We had a lot of big conversions. It just seemed like our receivers did a nice job of getting to the sticks, knowing when they were at the sticks and then going down.”
Wenning enjoyed his fifth straight 300-yard plus passing game of the season and became just the second Ball State player ever to surpass 9,000 yards in total offense for a career. Wenning completed 27-of-38 passes for 335 yards and is one of only two Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks in the country to record five 300-yard passing games this season.
Edwards rushed for 89 yards on 20 carries with three scores, while Horactio Bangs managed 50 yards on 10 rushes. Wenning added one rushing touchdown on the day.
Defensively, Brian Jones led the Cardinals with 13 tackles, while Ben Ingle managed 11 tackles. Kenneth Lee added eight tackles with one sack and one interception, while Jonathan Newsome tallied seven tackles and one forced fumble. Zack Ryan tallied seven tackles and one fumble recovery on the day.
The Cardinals travel to Virginia Saturday for its last non-conference contest of the season. The game will kickoff at noon in Scott Stadium. The Cardinals will return to Scheumann Stadium, Oct. 19 for homecoming game against Kent State beginning at 3 p.m.
Ball State 7, Toledo 3
2:29 – Jeremiah Detmer 44-yard field goal. 12 plays, 56 yards, 5:10
Toledo 10, Ball State 7
1:39 – Junior Sylvestre 23-yard fumble recovery. Jeremiah Detmer kick good.
Ball State 10, Toledo 10
:38- Scott Secor 22-yard field goal. 5 plays, 70 yards, 1:01
Ball State 17, Toledo 17
14:56 – Terrrance Owens 10-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell. Jeremiah Detmer kick good.
9 plays, 80 yards, 3:28
Ball State 24, Toledo 24
6:20 – David Fluellen 1-yard touchdown. Jeremiah Detmer kick good. -- 6 plays, 34 yards, 2:31