After starting the 2022 season 0-2, Ball State Football (1-2, 0-1 MAC) earned its first win over non-conference opponent Murray State (0-3, 0-0 OVC) Sept. 17.
The Cardinal defense showed out, allowing the Racers just 155 yards on 53 plays and forcing three turnovers.
"That's where we wanted to establish our identity," junior cornerback Nic Jones said. "We're all about starting fast, that's always the message, but that's what has got us in these one-possession games, that stuff carries over."
Jones lead the defense with two interceptions and a blocked punt in what was Ball State's first shutout since defeating Toledo Oct. 4, 2008, by a score of 31-0 as well.
While the defense held true throughout the game, the offense looked turbulent throughout most of the first half. Despite picking up 14 points in the first two frames, the Cardinals only scored on two of their eight drives.
"It was an us thing," redshirt junior quarterback John Paddock said. "We needed to execute at a higher level. play harder, play tougher. That starts with me and I definitely want a couple [plays] back. I feel like at times I might've forced it in a couple situations, maybe should not have changed in a couple of situations."
Coming out of the locker room Ball State was able to tempo the offense, scoring 17 points in the third and fourth quarters to seal the season's first win.
"I think we knew we were leaving plays on the field in the first half," Paddock said. "Then we started making those plays, I think the offensive line stepped up and really took over the last scrimmage starting in the third quarter.
Redshirt junior running back Will Jones was absent in the second half with Neu stating that there was no news on his injury outside of it being related to his ankle.
In the win, redshirt freshman tight end Brady Hunt, a Delta High School graduate, scored the game's first touchdown. It was also his first collegiate touchdown and his first at Scheumann Stadium.
"I am happy for him," head coach Mike Neu said. "Brady's really embraced whatever he's been asked to do. He entered the program here as a quarterback but told him during the recruiting process, "you'll have a chance to go to the quarterback room but if you don't get yourself in the mix on the depth chart, you're too talented." I've watched him play basketball too many times, he's too talented. For him to embrace the game at tight end and he works every day and it's good to see him find the endzone.
Ball State will be on the road for its next matchup, facing Georgia Southern (2-1, 0-0 SBC) Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.