Cards down Eagles

Cards' offense puts up 42 points for Homecoming.

In the days leading up to Saturday's homecoming game against Eastern Michigan, linebacker Justin Beriault said the Ball State team had yet to run on all cylinders.

"When we all click together," the sophomore said. "We'll win some football games."

In the third quarter Saturday, the team finally did click together, and they won a football game in front of a homecoming crowd of nearly 16,000.

"Everything was going in slow motion," junior quarterback Andy Roesch said. "We were running on all cylinders."

Head coach Bill Lynch said everything from the defense, to offense, to special teams was working in the second half of the game.

"We got some big plays, had turnovers, had field position. We were on a roll," Lynch said. "It's been awhile since we've been on a roll. It was kind of fun."

In a period of 7 minutes, 1 second, that stretched from the end of the second quarter to midway through the third, Ball State outscored Eastern 28-0. In that time, the Cardinal defense allowed only seven yards on four Eagle possessions.

"We couldn't have beaten anybody in the country today," Eastern Michigan coach Jeff Woodruff said.

Woodruff said the majority of Roesch's school record-tying five touchdown passes were a direct result of the Eagle's blown coverage on defense. Three of Roesch's touchdowns were on plays of over 40 yards. Woodruff said Roesch didn't do anything special.

"We didn't cover anybody," Woodruff said. "We busted several coverages and left people wide open."

Lynch, however, disagreed with Woodruff's assessment. When asked if he saw a hole in Eastern's defense that led him to call for long pass plays, Lynch pointed to Roesch.

"He saw it," Lynch said. "They were the same plays we called before."

Roesch was not the only offensive player who put up big numbers Saturday. Senior Marcus Merriweather rushed for 132 yards on 20 carries. He also caught three passes for 75 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown came on a short screen pass, but Merriweather's run after the catch made it a 41-yard play.

"Screen passes can be big or screen passes can look ugly," Lynch said. "That one ended up big."

Freshman Larry Bostic also had a big offensive day. Bostic had 71 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also returned three kickoffs for a total of 98 yards.

"I just make plays," Bostic said. "That's what I've been brought in to do."

Eastern Michigan took control of the game early by returning a Reggie Hodges punt 82 yards for a touchdown 1:47 into the game. Momentum in the game shifted, though, when Eastern Michigan's Anthony Sherrell fumbled on the goal line with a chance to take a 21-14 lead.

Ball State cornerback Jesse Avant recovered the ball in his own end zone and returned it for 19 yards.

"That was the momentum change that we needed," Lynch said.

That turnover did not lead to a Ball State score, but Andy Roesch threw his third touchdown pass of the game three minutes later, at the end of the first half. His 45-yard bomb to Jason Barnes gave the Cardinals a 21-14 lead at halftime. From there, the Cardinals never looked back.

With the win, Ball State moves to 3-4 on the season and 1-2 in the Mid-American Conference. Eastern fell to 3-5, and 1-3 in the MAC.


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