ATHENS, Ohio - The Ball State University football team (4-3, 2-1 MAC) earned a 23-20 Mid-American Conference road victory on Ohio's homecoming (4-3, 1-2 MAC) Saturday at Peden Stadium.
Junior kicker Steven Schott's field goal at the start of the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner after the Ball State defense held Ohio scoreless the remainder of the contest.
But the punting of Scott Kovanda and the play of special teams was the key to the victory.
Kovanda punted seven times for a 46.7 average, including a career long 67-yard punt and a fourth quarter kick that pinned the Bobcats inside the one yard line.
"The defense at times looked incredible and at times gave up big plays," Ball State head coach Pete Lembo says. "Our special teams have been the most consistent all year and they came up big today. We made some big plays on offense and defense, and offensively, we had to be creative to get some things done against a very good football team."
Offensively Jahwan Edwards led the Cardinals with 25 carries for 123 yards and one touchdown while quarterback Keith Wenning threw for 20-of-34 for 179 yards and one rushing TD. The 123 rushing yards was a career high for Edwards, breaking his mark of 112 vs. Buffalo earlier this season.
On defense, Aaron Morris forced an Ohio fumble, while leading the defense in tackles with nine. Andrew Puthoff had eight total tackles and a sack, while teammate Joshua Howard had an interception and a fumble recovery for the game.
With just 36 seconds left in the contest, the Cardinals defense managed to hold Ohio to a 41-yard field goal attempt to tie the game, but the Bobcats missed wide left to seal the Ball State victory.
Schott allowed the Cardinals to take the early 3-0 edge over the Bobcats after a scoreless first quarter when he nailed a 37-yard field goal at the 14:48 mark.
Ohio University answered back in its next possession with a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Phil Bates to wide receiver LaVon Brazil making it a 7-3 ball game with 11:41 remaining in the second quarter.
With 38 seconds left in the second quarter, Edwards scored his seventh touchdown of the season after a career long 28-yard run to put Ball State up 10-7 over Ohio.
On the Bobcats ensuing possession, junior linebacker Travis Freeman tallied his third career interception on the Bobcats second play. The interception set up a 25-yard field goal from Schott increasing Ball State's lead to 13-7 to end the half.
Ohio tied the game 13-13 at the 11:28 mark of the third quarter. Ball State's Nathan Ollie blocked the extra point which was the second time the Cardinals have accomplished that this season. Ollie's blocked marked the first of his career.
Ball State took the 20-13 edge over Ohio after Wenning ran for three yards into the endzone with 6:12 left in the third quarter. The touchdown marked Wenning's second rushing TD of the season and fourth of his career.
With 5:08 left in the third quarter, Ohio knotted the game 20-20 after a 74-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Tettleton to Brazil.
Schott made his third field goal of the contest at the start of the fourth quarter. On the Bobcats following possession Howard intercepted the ball and returned it for 35-yards. The interception marked Howard's second of the year and third of his career.
The Cardinals did not capitalize on the Bobcats miscue but on their next possession Hartke forced a fumble and Howard recovered it to give Ball State back the ball late in the fourth quarter but the Cardinals did not score off of Ohio's second mistake.
The Ball State football team returns home for MAC play when it hosts Central Michigan Saturday at Scheumann Stadium with a 2 p.m. kickoff.
Punter Scott Kovanda kicked a career long 67-yard punt in the first quarter.
Kicker Steven Schott has now made 9-of-10 field goals from 39 yards or less.
Jahwan Edwards seventh career touchdown.
Jahwan Edwards 28-yard touchdown run in the second quarter marked a career long rush.
Jahwan Edwards surpassed the 500 yard rushing mark for the season.
Travis Freeman tallied his third career interception and first of the season in the second quarter.
Nathan Ollie had his first blocked kick of his career in the third quarter.
Briggs Orsbon completed his second career pass on his third career attempt.
Keith Wenning had his second rushing touchdown run of the season and fourth of his career.
Joshua Howard has second interception of the season and third of his career in the fourth quarter.
Joshua Howard recovered his second fumble of the season and third of his career.
Ball State 0, Ohio 0
Ball State 3, Ohio 0
14:48- Steven Schott 37-yard field goal.
14 plays, 59 yards, 5:46
Ohio 7, Ball State 3
11:41- Phil Bates 37-yard touchdown pass to LaVon Brazill. Matt Weller kick good.
7 plays, 70 yards, 3:00
Ball State 10, Ohio 7
:38- Jahwan Edwards 28-yard touchdown run. Steven Schott kick good.
9 plays, 81 yards, 3:39
Ball State 13, Ohio 7
:03- Steven Schott 25-yard field goal.
2 plays, 0 yards, :11
Ball State 13, Ohio 13
11:28- Tyler Tettleton 13-yard touchdown pass to tail back Donte Harden. Matt Weller kick blocked.
8 plays, 65 yards, 3:27
Ball State 20, Ohio 13
6:12- Keith Wenning 3-yard touchdown run. Steven Schott kick good.
10 plays, 77 yards, 5:11
Ball State 20, Ohio 20
5:08- Tyler Tettleton 74-yard touchdown pass to LaVon Brazill. Matt Weller kick good.
3 plays, 71 yards, :58
Ball State 23, Ohio 20
14:19-Steven Schott 27-yard field goal.
13 plays, 53 yards, 5:43