MUNCIE, IN - Larry Dixon scored on a 71-yard touchdown run on the game’s third play from scrimmage, but Ball State (2-0) scored 37 unanswered points to seize control and went on to 40-14 victory over Army (1-1) Saturday afternoon at Scheumann Stadium.
Dixon finished the game with 113 yards on 13 carries, accounting for both of Army’s touchdowns. It is his second straight game cracking the 100-yard mark. Senior Raymond Maples added 84 yards on 12 carries. Quarterback Angel Santiago went 3-for-10 threw the air for 49 yards and rushed 14 times for 25 yards. Senior Anthony Stephens hauled in three catches for 21 yards, while Xavier Moss had two receptions for 10 yards. Maples and Chevaughn Lawrence each caught one pass. Backup quarterback A.J. Schurr came on in relief in the fourth quarter, running for a career-high 41 yards, including a career-best 31-yard scamper.
Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, while Horactio Banks, starting for an injured Jahwan Edwards, ran for 51 yards and two scores on 17 carries. Four players caught at least four passes with Jamill Smith going for five receptions, 83 yards and one touchdown. Willie Snead also hauled in five catches, while Zane Fakes was on the receiving end of Ball State’s second scoring strike.
Senior Thomas Holloway led the Army defense with nine tackles, while Shaquille Tolbert and Alex Meier each had seven stops. Robert Kough made 1.5 tackles for loss from his defensive line spot, while cornerback Chris Carnegie made his first career fumble recovery.
Zack Ryan was in double figures for the Ball State defense with 11 stops. Nathan Ollie made eight stops, including one for loss.
Ball State held a 440-439 advantage in total offense, but Army outgained the Cardinals on the ground 363-115.
The Ball State defense limited Army to just four yards on the first two plays, but Dixon took the third down handoff and raced 71 yards straight up the middle of the field for his first touchdown of the season. Daniel Grochowski’s extra point put the Black Knights on top 7-0.
After Army attempted a pooch kick that the Cardinals fielded at their own 40-yard line, Ball State took nine plays to cover the 60 yards for their first score. Banks did the honors, finding paydirt from 10 yards out.
Army went three-and-out on its next possession, and the Cardinals were able to take advantage of their defensive stand with a 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive. Wenning completed all seven of his throws on the drive, the last of which covered eight yards and was caught by a diving Smith in the back of the end zone. The PAT gave the Cardinals a 14-7 advantage.
Ball State extended its lead on its next possession when Scott Secor hit a career-long 47-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 12:57 left in the half.
Army committed its first turnover of the season on the ensuing possession when the ball came loose on the quarterback-fullback mesh. The Cardinals recovered at the Army 21-yard line, but the Black Knights’ defense did not allow a first down. Secor connected from 34 yards out to push the Cardinals lead to 20-7.
After an exchange of punts, Army drove to the Ball State 16-yard line. Grochowski attempted his first field goal of the season, missing wide right from 33 yards out.
The Cardinals capitalized on the Army miscue, using a hurry-up offense to go 80 yards on five plays in 1:20. Wenning hit Smith for a 39-yard strike to the Black Knights’ 6-yard line, and Banks took it the rest of the way on the following play. The extra point stretched the Cardinals’ lead to 27-7 with 1:01 left in the half.
Army showed some up-tempo offense of their own, driving to the Ball State 27-yard line after an 18-yard reception by Lawrence and a 27-yard catch by Maples. Out of timeouts, the Black Knights spiked the ball to stop the clock with 13 seconds left, but Santiago was sacked on the next play.
Dixon paced the Army rushing attack, which gained 172 yards in the first half, with 84 yards on seven carries. Maples added 49 yards on seven rushing attempts and caught one pass for 27 yards. Santiago was 3-for-7 passing for 49 yards.
Ball State carried their momentum into the second half, driving the first possession after halftime to the Army 2-yard line. The Black Knights stiffened, pushing the Cardinals back a yard and forcing a 19-yard field goal attempt by Secor. The kick split the uprights to make it a 30-7 game with 10:46 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, return man Stephen Fraser was dropped hard after fielding the ball on the bounce at the 1-yard line, forcing the ball loose. Ball State recovered at the 11-yard line and needed just one play, a pass from Wenning to Fakes, to score their fourth touchdown of the day.
The Army defense came up with its first takeaway of the season when Chris Carnegie pounced on a Ball State fumble at the Black Knights’ 44-yard line with 6:33 left in the quarter.
The Black Knights converted two fourth downs in Ball State territory, and on 1st-and-goal from the 9-yard line, Dixon blasted up the middle to cap 13-play drive that took 4:13 off the clock. Grochowski’s extra point made it 37-14 with 1:40 left the third.
Ball State put points on the board on its next possession when Secor converted his fourth field goal of the game, a 20-yarder, to make it 40-14 with 12:21 left in the game. The Cardinals appeared to have scored a touchdown, but Snead was whistled for an illegal touching penalty on third down at the 3-yard line, forcing the field goal try.
Army’s next drive was snuffed by Santiago’s first interception of the season, but the Black Knights forced Ball State’s third punt of the game. Schurr came on in relief and engineered an 86-yard drive down to the Ball State 7-yard line, but Moss’s first career rushing attempt on a reverse was stopped behind the line on fourth down.
Army got one more chance, but turned it over on downs. Ball State took a knee to run out the game clock.