Coming off their last-second win over Northern Illinois University, Ball State picked up its first back-to-back win of the season after defeating Kent State 34-3.
The Cardinals moved to 2-4 in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play with the win.
Touchdown taken back
Down 13-0, Kent State took the field in the middle of the second quarter. Down by two scores, a score on their drive could have made it a game in the first half.
The first play of the possession, the Golden Flashes took it to the house on a 65-yard touchdown pass. The play was called back. A holding call took six off the board.
An unsportsmanlike flag was thrown as well after a Kent State coach went onto the field to fight the call, pushing them back even further.
Even though this is one drive on the long list of drives Kent State had, just one opportunity for the 1-9 Flashes is a huge opportunity.
Ball State's defensive line continues to shine
The Cardinals were able to apply heavy pressure to the Golden Flashes in the first half. Senior Sidney Houston Jr. racked up 2.5 sacks. In one drive by Kent State, he was able to have a tackle for a loss, then the play after was a solo sack to push the Golden Flashes back even farther.
Graduate student defensive lineman Mikhari Sibblis recorded a sack as well in the first half. Sibblis is coming off of a performance at NIU where he recovered two fumbles. One of the recoveries resulted in the game-sealing field goal.
In the end, the Ball State defense was able to hold Kent State to under 100 yards total with 97. They also held them to only nine first downs for the entire game.
Bad football in the first half
Both teams scored in the first half, but a 13-3 score was brutal. Out of 14 drives, nine of them ended in punts.
Although the score did not represent the quality of football, it just appeared like a sloppy, slow and lethargic game.
The nine punts may say the defense was effective, but it was a challenge for both squads to have any offense.
For the Cardinals, they were 2-for-12 (16 percent) through the air with 52 yards. On the ground, they accumulated 66 yards.
For Kent State, they were 5-for-13 (38 percent) with 28 yards. On the ground, they only rushed for 16 yards. 44 total yards of offense. 44 yards.
Ball State offensive turnarounds
There was a significant change after halftime for the Ball State offense. The first two drives for the Cardinals resulted in a touchdown. The high-paced, run-heavy offense was excelling in the last 30 minutes of play.
The first drive saw redshirt sophomore Kiael Kelly call his own number with a 22-yard rush. The drive was nine plays and went 75 yards.
The second drive ended in another Kelly touchdown, reaching across the endzone line to punch it in from four yards out. The drive was eight plays and went 89 yards.
The third touchdown came from redshirt sophomore Vaughn Pemberton, his first of the season. A 45-yard rush from him was able to set him up in the end.
A clear difference in the half was Ball State’s commitment to the ground game. With passing it less in the second half, running the ball was extremely effective. So effective they reached 300 yards on the ground for the game.
Ball State football will be back at home on Saturday, Nov. 25, at noon.
Contact Elijah Poe via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @ElijahPoe4.