DeKalb, Ill. – Ball State’s football team suffered a 48-27 game to the nation’s 15th-ranked Northern Illinois Huskies to fall to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in Mid-American Conference play.
In a game that was tied at 27-27 deep into the fourth quarter, the Huskies were able to score three times in the final 5:49 of the contest to seal the victory. With the win, Northern Illinois improved to 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the MAC.
“We did not get off the field enough on third down (on defense), and we did not stay on the field enough on third down (on offense),” Ball State head coach Pete Lembo says. "We just could not keep the drives going. We would move the ball, have long drives and get on their side of the field, and then the drives would just kind of stall. I think that was the difference from the first half to the second half."
After taking a 34-27 lead, Northern Illinois stopped Ball State on a fourth and one in its next possession, giving the Huskies back the ball on their own 45-yard line at the 3:47 mark. NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch would add his fourth touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter with a 16-yard run to put the Huskies up by two scores over the Cardinals with 1:26 remaining. Joe Windsor would then cap the night off for NIU with a 49-yard touchdown interception to end the ball game.
"Our guys played really hard, but at the end of the day you have to make some plays," Lembo says.
Ball State had its 11-game MAC winning streak snapped and lost for just the second time in 17 contests.
It was a close first half as both teams traded scores, Northern Illinois got on the board first after a 34-yard field goal from kicker Mathew Sims. Ball State would take the biggest lead of the half, 21-13 at the 1:28 mark after Jahwan Edwards scored his 38th career touchdown off of a 5-yard run, which set the Ball State career total touchdown record.
Keith Wenning completed 35-of-49 passes for 324 yards and one touchdown and is the only quarterback in the Football Bowl Subdivision to have thrown for 300 or more yards in nine games this season. Wenning set season highs in completions and attempts, while he threw for 300 yards in a game for a school record 15th time.
Edwards rushed 29 times for 156 yards and one touchdown, while Willie Snead was the team’s top receiver with 12 catches for 121 yards and one score.
“We have a chance to earn the 10th win this next game, so we have plenty to play for,” Lembo says. “We get this next win, we know it’s going to enhance our chances to go to a really nice postseason bowl game.”
The Cardinals will end the MAC regular season at home Friday, Nov. 29, when the Cardinals host Miami University in Scheumann Stadium.
Northern Illinois 3, Ball State 0
8:10 – Mathew Sims 34-yard field goal.
7 plays, 36 yards, 1:56
Ball State 7, Northern Illinois 3
12 plays, 72 yards, 4:59
Northern Illinois 10, Ball State 7
13:53 – Jordan Lynch 3-yard touchdown run. Mathew Sims kick good.
11 plays, 78 yards, 4:02
Ball State 14, Northern Illinois 10
10 plays, 67 yards, 3:39
Ball State 14, Northern Illinois 13
5:00 – Mathew Sims 20-yard field goal.
11 plays, 43 yards, 5:08
Ball State 21, Northern Illinois 13
9 plays, 75 yards, 3:32
Ball State 21, Northern Illinois 20
1:13 - Jordan Lynch 58-yard touchdown pass to Da'Ron Brown.
1 play, 58 yards, :10
Ball State 24, Northern Illinois 20
:25 – Scott Secor 43-yard field goal.
9 plays, 49 yards, :48
Northern Illinois 27, Ball State 24
8:31 – Camer Stingly 1-yard touchdown run. Mathew Sims kick good.
17 plays, 85 yards, 5:31
Ball State 27, Northern Illinois 27
3:07 – Scott Secor 19-yard field goal.
13 plays, 79 yards, 5:24
Northern Illinois 34, Ball State 27
5:49 - Jordan Lynch 36-yard touchdown pass to Da'Ron Brown.
7 plays, 94 yards, 2:34
Northern Illinois 41, Ball State 27
1:26 – Jordan Lynch 6-yard touchdown run.
7 plays, 55 yards, 2:21
Northern Illinois 48, Ball State 27
Joe Windsor 49-yard touchdown interception. Mathew Sims kick good.