With the defeat, Ball State falls to 1-4 on the season while Army improves to 2-3.
“The bottom line is we have to find a way to get these guys to play with more detail, discipline and consistency,” Ball State head coach Pete Lembo said. “We are showing flashes right now of good execution but too often we are having breakdowns that are critical and negatively impacting our chances to get the results we want.”
An early Ball State turnover led to Army’s first touchdown of the game and the Black Knights ran a 7-play, 29-yard scoring drive to take a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
With just over four minutes left in the first stanza, Army scored again after a fumble recovered by the Cardinals was reviewed and overturned.
After a 43-yard field goal gave Army a 17-7 lead with 9:09 left in the first half, Ball State mounted a 61-yard drive that ended in a 22-yard field goal by Scott Secor to pull the Cardinals within 17-10 with 2:16 to play in the first half.
Army ended the first half scoring with a 21-yard field goal to take a 20-10 lead into halftime.
The second half started with the Ball State defense holding Army on a fourth and goal from the one-yard line, but with 3:02 to play in the third quarter, the Black Knights rushed in from the 3-yard line to take a 27-10 lead in the contest.
Down 27-10, a comeback win would have tied the fourth best in Ball State history. It looked possible just minutes after the Army TD when Edwards scored from six yards out after a nine-play drive as the Cardinals pulled within 10 at 27-17. The fourth quarter was less than a minute old.
With 8:35 to play in the game, the Cardinals closed the gap even more when Ozzie Mann connected with Dylan Curryfor a six-yard scoring pass that pulled Ball State within 27-24.
But at the 3:41 mark, Army put the game away with an 11-yard touchdown run that gave the Black Knights the final 33-24 margin.
“We had some turnovers today that are never going to give you a chance with an option team,” Lembo said. “Every possession in this game was so critical. A fourth and one where we fumbled, a personal foul on their quarterback where we would have held them to a field goal -- those mistakes cost us. A few other things that you might not notice are breakdowns where we execute four out of five times. We had some busts on defense. It is where we are at right now and we have to continue working hard to demand more consistency and better decision making out of our guys.”
Edwards ended the game with 142 yards rushing and two rushing TDs, He also tallied a team high five catches for 44 yards. Mann completed 18-of-26 passes for 173 yards with one touchdown and one interception, which came with only 2:42 left in the game.
Michael Ayers led the Cardinals with 14 tackles and one fumble recovery, while Tracey Key managed 10 tackles and Ben Ingle registered eight tackles.
Ball State will host Western Michigan next Saturday in the school’s Homecoming Game at 3 p.m. at Scheumann Stadium.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)