Keith Wenning remembers the first game he played at Scheumann Stadium.
It was Ball State’s season opener against Southeast Missouri his freshman year, but his name didn’t appear in the final box score.
“I went in with a couple minutes left and handed the ball off about three or four times,” Wenning said following Ball State’s 55-14 thumping over Miami. “That was it.”
Wenning’s final home game Friday will be one he’ll remember and so will the Ball State record books.
The senior quarterback threw for 301 first half passing yards and five touchdown passes. While doing so, Wenning broke the Ball State records for touchdown passes (31) and passing yards (3,668) in a single season. Nate Davis had previously owned both records.
In the fourth quarter, Wenning threw a sixth touchdown pass on a 75-yard strike to wide receiver Jordan Williams that broke the school record for most in a game.
“I don’t even think about the records or anything like that,” Wenning said. “Playing in my last game on this field hasn’t set in yet. It’s gone by really fast.”
It was the type of game that any senior quarterback wanted for his final home game. He finished the game 27-for-33 with 445 yards and six touchdowns. The win ends Ball State’s regular season at 10-2, becoming the third team in program history to win at least 10 games in a season. The 2008 team was the last to win 10 games.
“We’re really happy to get win No. 10, finish the season strong, go undefeated at home,” head coach Pete Lembo said. “And send our seniors out with a victory.”
Wenning wasn’t alone in breaking records and putting up big numbers against Miami (0-12, 0-8 Mid-American Conference). Wide receiver Willie Snead broke the Ball State record for receiving yards in a season in the second quarter. Fellow senior Jamill Smith caught three touchdown passes in the first half.
The receiver trio of Snead, Smith and Williams all had over 125 yards in the game, marking the first time in school history the team had three receivers with over 100 yards in a game.
“We just all make plays, but we don’t really keep track,” Snead said. “At the end it’s like ‘Wow, we really just did that.’”
Ball State exploded for 35 first half points and 366 total yards of offense. Miami was scoreless and recorded just 96 total yards. The offense didn’t slow much in the second half and went to freshman running back Teddy Williamson.
Williamson ran for 80 yards on 19 carries after getting all the second half action after Jahwan Edwards ran for 59 yards in the first half.
The 55 points were the most scored by a Ball State team since 2006.
Ball State won’t learn its bowl game destination until Dec. 8., which could be determined if Northern Illinois clinches a Bowl Championship Series game berth. The most likely destinations for Ball State should be the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl or the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, both MAC bowls.
The Cardinals will get time off with until the bowl announcement and finals week looming. But the focus is already on winning the program’s first bowl game.
“I’m worried about right now,” Wenning said. “I’m worried about getting our first bowl win.”