For the third straight season, under the direction of head coach Pete Lembo, the Ball State football team won its Mid-American Conference opener with a 51-20 win at Eastern Michigan Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Mich.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in MAC play, while the Eagles fell to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the MAC. Ball State forced Eastern Michigan into four turnovers lost with a pair of interceptions and two fumble recoveries to secure the win.
Offensively, Ball State scored on a 36-yard Jahwan Edwards’ touchdown run on its opening drive to take a 7-6 lead in the game and become the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision to score on its first possession in all four contests this year. Just over two minutes later, Horactio Banks scored on a 43-yard run and Ball State was off to another record setting day.
This marked the second time this season Ball State has scored 51 points in a game, which gave the Cardinals two 50-point or more games in a single season for the first time since 1965 and for only the second time in school history.
Keith Wenning threw for 317 yards and became Ball State’s career leader with 10 all-time 300-yard passing games in his career. He has now passed for 300 or more yards in all four games after entering the game as one of only four FBS quarterbacks in the nation to pass for 300 or more yards in the first three games.
Wenning spread the ball to five different receivers, including Willie Snead, who led the Cardinals with nine catches for 175 yards. Jordan Williams tallied four catches for 105 yards and two TDs, while Jamill Smith had four catches for 37 yards.
Edwards returned to the lineup for the first time after suffering an injury in the season opener and led Ball State’s rushing attack with 15 carries for 81 yards and three scores. Banks managed seven rushes for 65 yards and one TD, while Teddy Williamson had 10 carries for 28 yards.
After trailing at the start of the contest, Ball State managed to score on every possession in the first quarter and its first four drives of the game. All four drives were six plays or fewer and took less than 2:30 off the clock. Two of the scoring drives were only two plays and took a combined 56 seconds.
The 31-point victory margin was the largest for Ball State since a 45-14 victory over Northern Illinois Nov. 5, 2008.
Ben Ingle led the Cardinals with 13 tackles and added one forced fumble, while Brian Jones tallied 12 tackles, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Zack Ryan added 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Ball State returns home for the first time in two weeks Saturday as it hosts Toledo in MAC action at 3 p.m. in Scheumann Stadium.
Eastern Michigan 6, Ball State 0
11:27- Darius Jackson 7-yard touchdown run. Dylan Mulder kick blocked.
9 plays, 75 yards, 3:33
Ball State 7, Eastern Michigan 6
8:55 – Jahwan Edwards 36-yard touchdown run. Scott Secor kick good.
6 plays, 70 yards, 2:28
Ball State 13, Eastern Michigan 6
6:29 – Horactio Banks 43-yard touchdown run. Scott Secor kick no good.
2 plays, 59 yards, :24
Ball State 20, Eastern Michigan 6
5:11 – Keith Wenning 15-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Williams. Scott Secor kick good.
2 plays, 17 yards, :32
Ball State 27, Eastern Michigan 6
1:46 – Keith Wenning 31-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Williams. Scott Secor kick good.
6 plays, 45 yards, 2:13
Ball State 27, Eastern Michigan 13
7:00 – Ryan Brumfield 1-yard touchdown run. Dylan Mulder kick good.
6 plays, 53 yards, 2:19
Ball State 34, Eastern Michigan 13
:59 – Jamill Smith 27-yard touchdown run. Scott Secor kick good.
6 plays, 50 yards, 1:22
Ball State 37, Eastern Michigan 13
13:09-Scott Secor 35-yard field goal.
5 plays, 53 yards, 1:48
Ball State 37, Eastern Michigan 20
12:08- Tyler Benz 24-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Creel. Dylan Mulder kick good.
3 plays, 65 yards, 1:01
Ball State 44, Eastern Michigan 20
10:51 - Jahwan Edwards 10-yard touchdown run. Scott Secor kick good.
4 plays, 67 yards, 1:12
Ball State 51, Eastern Michigan 20
3:16 - Jahwan Edwards 3-yard touchdown run. Scott Secor kick good.
10 plays, 81 yards, 4:22