Ball State quarterback Riley Neal looks for a receiver downfield in a 30-20 loss to Indiana at Memorial Field on Sept. 10. Neal and the Cardinals fell to 1-1 as their late comeback attempt fell short. DN Photo // Grace Hollars
Ball State's Neal, Brunner honored as scholar-athletes
After Ball State's 31-27 win over Florida Atlantic, the duo that connected for the Cardinals' first touchdown of the game was honored Sept. 28.
Sophomore quarterback Riley Neal was honored as the Mid-American Conference Scholar Athlete of the Week, and senior tight end Sam Brunner was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given annually to the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
Neal hit Brunner down the middle of the field for a 26-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to cut Florida Atlantic's lead to 14-7. It was Brunner's first touchdown catch of the season.
Ball State (3-1) will return home this weekend to take on MAC rival Northern Illinois (0-4) Oct. 1 at 3 p.m.
Neal accounted for all four of Ball State's touchdowns in the win over Florida Atlantic on his way to being named MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 19-26.
He scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard rush with 1:47 left on the clock. Neal finished the game 23-37 for 252 yards through the air, to go with 74 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Neal is a pre-business major and carries a 3.518 grade point average in the classroom.
Brunner was one of 156 semifinalists across the country for the 2016 Campbell Award.
He is a two-time Academic All-MAC selection, and holds a 3.436 grade point average while majoring in social studies education. Brunner is expected to earn his bachelor's degree in December.
Each school is limited to one nominee. The candidate must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility and have a GPA of at least 3.2. The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame will announce 12-14 finalists Nov. 1, and each finalist will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The overall winner will have his scholarship increased to $25,000.
Brunner has five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown in four games this season.