Cardinals running back James Gilbert got the final three carries of the Ball State drive, capping it off with a 3-yard touchdown run. Ball State football opens the 2017 season against Illinois Saturday at noon. Grace Ramey, DN
Ball State football vs. UAB quarter updates
UAB wins the coin toss and defers, Ball State will receive the opening kickoff.
Dunner opens the game with a 32-yard kick return, putting Ball State on its own 35. The drive nearly stalls when the Cardinals face third-and-8 from the Blazers 19, but junior quarterback Riley Neal hits senior receiver Corey Lacanaria for an 11-yard gain. Dunner scores on an 8-yard touchdown run on the next play to give Ball State a 7-0 lead.
UAB and Ball State both go three-and-out, though Neal nearly threw an interception on first-and-10 when his pass hit a UAB defensive back in the chest.
The Blazers start the next drive on their own 37 and work their way down to the Cardinals' 11-yard line, but a false-start penalty pushes them back to the 16. Ball State senior defensive tackle Kevin Willis sacks redshirt junior quarterback A.J. Erdely on third-and-14, and redshirt sophomore kicker Nick Vogel hits a 45-yard field goal to cut Ball State's lead to 7-3.
Ball State starts the quarter facing third-and-4 on its own 44-yard line. The Cardinals convert three consecutive third-down attempts, and Neal connects with wide-open redshirt sophomore tight end Danny Pinter for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Ball State leads 14-3.
The Cardinals pin the Blazers on their own 13-yard line on the ensuing kickoff. Ederly hits redshirt junior tight end Logan Scott for a 21-yard gain. Ederly caps the drive with a 41-yard touchdown run to cut Ball State's lead to 14-10.
Ball State moves into UAB territory on the next drive, but Neal's passes fall incomplete on third and fourth down. The Blazers take over on their own 40.
UAB needs only four plays to move 60 yards, with Ederly throwing a 43-yard pass to redshirt junior Sederian Copeland. Ederly then scored on an 18-yard touchdown run to put the Blazers ahead 17-14.
The Cardinals need less than two minutes to respond. Freshman Caleb Huntley scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 52-yard run to put Ball State ahead 21-17.
Ball State redshirt senior defensive end Anthony Winbush ended UAB's next drive, hitting Ederly from the blind side and forcing a fumble. Ball State recovers at its own 44-yard line.
The Cardinals stall on the next possession, but freshman punter Nathan Snyder pins the Blazers on their own 1-yard line with 1:16 left in the half.
UAB gets a pair of first downs but lets the clock run. At halftime, Ball State leads 21-17.
UAB starts on its own 7-yard line after a holding penalty on the return. The Blazers gain 52 yards on five rushes to move to the Cardinals’ 41-yard line, but Ball State redshirt sophomore Romero Wade dives in front of redshirt junior receiver Jonathan Haden to break up the fourth-down pass attempt.
Ball State drives downfield quickly as Neal completes a 20-yard pass to freshman receiver Justin Hall and a 14-yard pass to Lacanaria. UAB redshirt junior Jordan Petty is ejected for targeting when he takes down Lacanaria. Junior running back James Gilbert scores a 1-yard touchdown on first-and-goal a few plays later, putting the Cardinals ahead 28-17.
UAB works its way down to Ball State’s 27-yard line, but on third-and-10 redshirt senior defensive end and redshirt senior defensive back David Moore combine for a sack. Offsetting penalties are called after the play, and then UAB head coach Bill Clark is penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct to make it fourth-and-39 from UAB’s 44-yard line.
Lacanaria returns the punt 42 yards, but a sideline interference penalty pushes Ball State back to its own 40-yard line. The Cardinals gain 30 yards, setting up junior kicker Morgan Hagee’s career-long 47-yard field goal. Ball State leads 31-17.
UAB starts on its own 45-yard line after a 42-yard kick return by redshirt junior Andre Wilson. Ederly ran for an 8-yard touchdown, his third score of the day, to make it 31-24 Ball State.
Dunner responds with a 93-yard kick return touchdown to put Ball State ahead 38-24.
UAB starts the quarter on third-and-4 from its own 32-yard line, but are stopped when they try to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 35-yard line.
Ball State appears to be stopped on third down twice, but on both plays a penalty gave the Cardinals a first down. Gilbert scores a 1-yard touchdown to put Ball State ahead 45-24.
Haden fumbles on the kick return, and Ball State recovers on UAB’s 19-yard line. Neal connects with Hall for a 12-yard touchdown pass to make it 51-24.
UAB goes three-and-out, and Moore blocks the punt. Ball State’s backups enter the game and go three-and-out. Hagee misses a 30-yard field goal.
The Blazers march downfield for an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by Copeland's 7-yard touchdown run. Ball State leads 51-31.
The Cardinals run out the clock to win 51-31 and improve to 1-1 on the season.