After building a 27-16 halftime lead, the Ball State Cardinals were unable to hold on Saturday in Denton and fell to the North Texas Mean Green 34-27.
Ball State's explosive offense was hot from the opening snap, scoring 20 first quarter points and running up 346 yards in the first half. The second half the Cardinals were unable to get on the scoreboard, and finished the game with 502 total yards. Ball State's Maxwell Award candidate Keith Wenning completed 26 of 45 passes for 334 yards two touchdowns and two interceptions. The two interceptions were the first of the season for Wenning. Jamill Smith paced the Cardinals with 113 receiving yards on 4 catches. Horactio Banks, playing an increased role with Jahwan Edwards still out with concussion-like symptoms, carried the ball 12 times for 142 yards and a touchdown.
Wennings counterpart, North Texas senior quarterback Derek Thompson, threw for 274 yards and touchdown. The Mean Green dual threat added another 75 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. Brandin Byrd totaled 80 yards on 18 carries and Purdue transfer Reggie Pegram chipped in 66 yards and a touchdown.
Turnovers played the story in this one. Ball State fumbled the ball four times, losing three, to go along with Wenning's two interceptions. The Cardinals were unable to take advantage of nine Mean Green penalties totaling 75 yards, including two on their final drive, improving the Cardinals field position.
The Cardinals are back in action next Saturday at 1PM against Eastern Michigan.