After a three-and-out and an interception in Ball State’s first two possessions, it didn’t look like the Cardinals were going to have a repeat of last year’s 42-6 opener at Scheumann Stadium. Already trailing 7-0, momentum did not look to be on Ball State’s side.
“Didn’t start great,” head coach Mike Neu said. “A start that certainly nobody envisioned, but then we battled back.”
The Cardinals took control of the game offensively, scoring on four of their next five drives to go into halftime with a 28-14 lead. Ball State (1-1, 0-0 MAC) kept the foot on the gas and walked away with a 57-29 victory over Fordham (0-2, 0-0 Patriot League).
“It just shows what we’re capable of,” redshirt senior receiver Riley Miller said. “Realistically, you’re not going to score 57 points every game, but we know we’ve been there before. Just having that kind of game under our belt just kind of gives us a little momentum going into next week.”
Even with 57 points on the board, only two players scored more than once. Six different Cardinals found the end zone before the midway point of the third quarter. Miller scored a second time late in the third quarter. He said the variety of playmakers showcased Saturday came as no surprise.
“It’s a ton of fun just to share that role,” Miller said. “You know one guy is reliable on the other side of the field when you’re on the opposite … You know the ball’s going to be in the right hands any play of the game, so that’s just kind of a reassuring feeling.”
Included in the six players who met the end zone were a few firsts. To open up the Cardinals’ scoring, junior receiver Justin Hall recorded his first receiving touchdown since 2017, a 50-yard bomb down the right sideline. Redshirt junior fullback Cody Rudy, who was given a surprise scholarship before the 2018 season, scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter. Redshirt junior receiver Antwan Davis scored his first two touchdowns as a Cardinal and his first overall since his freshman season at Lincoln University in Missouri.
“Several guys having touches, several guys having touchdowns — Think about what their effort will be like in practice,” Neu said. “That just gives you a lot of juice and a lot of excitement knowing that at any point and time I got to be ready because the ball could come my way.”
All these performances by the plethora of weapons on Ball State’s offense led to a career day for redshirt junior quarterback Drew Plitt. He threw for a personal-best 439 yards and tied the school record with six touchdown passes. Plitt credited his teammates for his day and said he’s already focused on the next opponent.
“It’s awesome to see everyone get involved scoring just because we know they can do it. It happens in practice all the time,” Plitt said. “The game is a proving ground, and that’s what we did today. They went out, and they made plays that came to them.”
Next up for Ball State is another home game against Florida Atlantic at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, during Family Weekend.