Ball State players rally together before the opening quarter against Northern Illinois on October 1 at Scheumann Stadium. NIU defeated the Cardinals 31-24. Grace Hollars // DN
Ball State football vs. Central Michigan quarter updates
The Cardinals began the fourth quarter the same way they ended the third. Defensive end Anthony Winbush came up with a sack on third down, and Ball State received the punt at the 20-yard line.
Quarterback Riley Neal overthrew KeVonn Mabon on the next play, however, and Central Michigan's Josh Cox returned it for an interception touchdown. After the extra point, the Chippewas led 24-14 with 13:45 left.
James Gilbert answered right back for Ball State. The sophomore broke off a 47-yard run to the Central Michigan 20, and punched it in four plays later for his second touchdown. Morgan Hagee's extra point was good, and the Cardinals cut the deficit to 24-21 with 11:40 remaining.
Ball State converted two third downs on its next drive, including a 16-yard pass to senior wide receiver Aaron Hepp, but it stalled. Central Michigan took over on its 10-yard line after the punt with 6:44 left in the game.
The Cardinals defense got a stop on third down, and after the Chippewas' punt bounced into the end zone, the offense took over at the 25-yard line.
Behind Neal and Hepp, Ball State quickly moved the ball down to the Central Michigan 29-yard line. Neal threw one deep to Hazelton down the left sideline, but it was underthrown and intercepted in the end zone.
Chippewas running back Devon Spalding broke off a 52-yard run up the middle, and they ran out the rest of the clock.
Central Michigan wins, 24-21.
Central Michigan received the kickoff to begin the second half. The Chippewas began their drive at the 25-yard line.
The teams traded punts on their first possessions of the second half. Morgan Hagee punted 25 yards to the Central Michigan 32, setting up a 1st-and-10 for the Chippewas with 11:29 on the clock.
Ball State got its first two sacks of the day on the drive. Defensive tackle Kevin Willis got into the backfield on second down, and defensive end Anthony Winbush brought down quarterback Cooper Rush on third. Ball State took over at the Chippewa 40-yard line after the punt.
Running back James Gilbert carried the Cardinals on the drive, carrying four times for 22 yards. Riley Neal threw a fade in the back left corner of the end zone to Damon Hazelton that was ruled incomplete. Upon further review, however, it was a touchdown. After the score, Ball State trailed 17-14 with 6:07 left in the quarter.
The Cardinals kept up the pressure on defense. After getting burned on a blitz for a 17-yard pass, Kevin Thurmon got in the backfield for a sack. The Chippewas punted again, giving the Cardinals the ball at the 23-yard line.
Central Michigan has a 1st-and-10 from its own 48 as the clock expired.
After three, Central Michigan leads Ball State 17-14.
Riley Neal found Damon Hazelton for a first down, but his pass on third down sailed out of bounds. Senior Kyle Schmidt punted 46 yards to the Central Michigan 16-yard line, where the Chippewas took over.
Central Michigan responded, as quarterback Cooper Rush found Mark Chapman down the middle of the field for 38 yards. After a loss of two yards, defensive lineman John Whitman was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept the drive alive.
Ball State stuffed Central Michigan running back Devon Spalding on his first two goal line carries, but he made it in on third down. With 7:08 left in the half, the Chippewas took a 10-7 lead.
After a second consecutive Ball State punt, Central Michigan took over at the 15-yard line. The Chippewas continued to have their way with the Cardinals' secondary. Rush found Corey Willis for eight, and Tyler Conklin for 19 more. He even had a 26-yard scramble around the left side.
Senior linebacker Sean Wiggins came up with a big stop on fourth down to give the Cardinals the ball back.
The Cardinals couldn't do anything with it, though, as Neal was sacked on third down to end the drive. The Chippewas took started their next drive at their own 22-yard line with 32 seconds to work with and no timeouts.
Running back Devon Spalding broke a 63-yard run up the middle all the way to the Ball State 15-yard line to start the drive. Three plays later, Rush found a wide open Corey Willis in the right corner of the end zone to cap the 4-play, 25-second drive.
At the half, Central Michigan leads Ball State 17-7.
Central Michigan won the toss, and deferred to the second half. Ball State's opening drive started on the 20-yard line after the kickoff.
The Cardinals started the game with some tempo on the offensive side, but sophomore quarterback Riley Neal's completion to senior tight end Sam Brunner came up a yard short of a first down.
Central Michigan took advantage, as quarterback Cooper Rush connected with Corey Willis for 39 yards to the Ball State 28-yard line. The Chippewas got the ball inside the 10, but cornerback Marc Walton broke up a pass on third down. After the field goal, the home team held a 3-0 lead.
Ball State started its next drive on the 23-yard line. The Cardinals converted four third downs on a 14-play, 77-yard drive that ended with James Gilbert's 13-yard touchdown run. After the extra point, Ball State led 7-3 with 3:21 remaining.
After forcing a Central Michigan punt, Ball State took over on its 17. Ball State is facing a 2nd-and-10.
Ball State leads Central Michigan 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.