Ball State improved to 4-7 overall and 3-4 in league action, while the Eagles fell to 2-9 overall and 1-6 in the MAC.
“We are really happy to get a win today,” Ball State head coach Pete Lembo said. “The guys worked hard this week and had a great week of preparation. We had some challenges in terms of preparation that the guys handled very well. There were some injuries and other things that had us concerned early in the week, but everyone handled themselves very well leading up to the game.
Senior Jahwan Edwards amassed 131 rushing yards on 19 carries with one touchdown to lead the Ball State offense. Already the school’s career record holder in rushing yards and touchdowns, Edwards set the school standard for most career rushing attempts. His TD at the 5:27 mark in the second quarter put the Cardinals ahead 21-3.
Ball State added a Jack Milas to Jordan Hogue 33-yard scoring strike with 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter to take a commanding 28-3 lead into the half. The Hogue TD was the second of his career.
Milas threw for 169 yards and was a part of three touchdowns -- two passing and one rushing. He was second on the team in rushing with a career-best 57 yards, including a career-long 54-yard run in the first quarter that was only three yards shy of the longest run from scrimmage for the Cardinals this year.
At the start of the second half, Ben Ingle forced a fumble on Eastern Michigan’s first possession and then carried it from the five-yard line into the end zone to put Ball State up by 32 points at 35-3. The touchdown was the first in Ingle’s career and marked the second fumble recovery of his career.
Eastern Michigan rallied for 13 straight points to close the gap to 35-16 as the fourth quarter started, but Scott Secor’s 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter put the Cardinals back up 38-16.
With Milas sidelined by an injury, Ball State’s Ozzie Mann came on in relief and completed 4-of-7 passes for 48 yards and one touchdown. On the season, Mann has now thrown for seven TDs and has only two interceptions.
Mann connected on a 5-yard pass to Dylan Curry with 10:58 left in the game and Ball State led 45-16 and coasted to the win.
Edwards hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the second quarter to become only the second player in Ball State history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. He joined Marcus Merriweather as the only two to ever accomplish the feat for the Cardinals.
Defensively, Ball State was led by Zack Ryan who had 15 tackles and recorded one sack, while teammate Dedrick Cromartie ended the day with 11 tackles.
Ball State’s defense held EMU to only a field goal in the first stanza and kept the Eagles out of the end zone until the third quarter.
“It wasn’t the prettiest, but we will certainly take it,” Lembo said. “I’ll say this too, just to give some perspective on this, because obviously we all would like to be in a better place right now than we are, but this win gives this senior class in pretty elite company. Last year’s seniors won 29 games and this year’s seniors have now won 29 games.”
Ball State will close out its 2014 season at Bowling Green Friday at Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. with the game to be shown on ESPN3.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics/MRO Edit)