FOOTBALL: Edwards sets new Ball State rushing record in win

Senior running back Jahwan Edwards celebrates his touchdown during the game against Western Michigan at Scheumann Stadium on Oct. 10. DN PHOTO TAYLOR IRBY
Senior running back Jahwan Edwards celebrates his touchdown during the game against Western Michigan at Scheumann Stadium on Oct. 10. DN PHOTO TAYLOR IRBY

When Jahwan Edwards took a handoff late in the third quarter against Central Michigan, it was just another running play to him at the time.

The defense slanted to his left, so he bounced to the right, gaining 10 yards and a first down.

It also set the record for most rushing yards in Ball State football history, surpassing the 4,002 mark set by former running back Marcus Merriweather.

“That’s history. It wasn’t one of my goals coming into Ball State,” Edwards said. “Focusing on the process got me to breaking the record.”

Edwards is a four-year starter; he took over for Eric Williams and MiQuale Lewis after the 2010 season. Since then, he’s accumulated 46 touchdowns, also a Ball State record. He’s made his career at Ball State as a power runner who has the ability to both run through defenders and around them.

After a loss to Army a few weeks ago, in which he rushed for 142 yards on just 12 carries and two touchdowns, Edwards stated he didn’t care about the statistics because his team had lost. To him, there’s no glory in putting up impressive numbers if Ball State doesn’t come away with a victory.

But notching a win against Central Michigan and setting a record left him in a different mood. He picked at what he called “war wounds” on his arms after the game, chatting with kicker Scott Secor and laughing.

“He has made the most of the opportunity from the first day,” head coach Pete Lembo said. “He is a better man than when he got here, he’s a better player than when he got here, he’s changed his body, and he’s a better student.”

Even former players took note of Edwards accomplishment, like Jamill Smith. Smith was a wide receiver for Ball State before graduating and joining the Ottawa Redblacks after last season.

“I wish I coulda been blockin for the homie when he broke that record,” Smith tweeted after Edwards set the record.

Edwards gained just 811 yards his freshman year, sharing carries with several other players. It wasn’t until he was a sophomore that he became the primary back, increasing his yardage to 1,427 and then 1,129 as a junior after missing two games with injury.

Lembo said before the season began that Edwards is a model player in his program, one he can point to and tell younger players to look up to.

“He’s embraced the role he’s had to take on campus, being one of the most visible students on campus,” Lembo said. “He’s made the most of it and there’s still a lot of work left to be done.”

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