Ball State kicked off the 2014 campaign with a 30-10 win over the Colgate Raiders at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie on Saturday.
The Cardinals started this season with a new face under center. Sophomore Ozzie Mann takes over the reins at quarterback, replacing Ball State record holder Keith Wenning. Prior to Saturday's game against the Raiders, Mann had thrown a grand total of nine passes for the Cardinal and White.
The new signal caller acclimated quickly. Mann completed 20 of 32 passes for 203 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception in the season opening win. The interception was thrown into the endzone early in the second quarter, and appeared to be caught for a touchdown, before video replay determined the ball would be awarded to the Raiders. What would've been a 20-0 Ball State lead, became much closer, with Colgate driving to a score and closing the gap to 13-7. Mann connected with Ball State junior receiver Aaron Hepp to stretch the lead to 20-7 before the half.
The story of this game however, was the Ball State rushing attack. The Cardinals had two backs top 100 yards for the first time since a 2012 game against the Ohio Bobcats. Senior Jahwan Edwards continued his march into the Ball State record books, logging 109 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown. Returning from last year's season ending ACL tear, senior Horactio Banks was even more impressive. The explosive 5'8" 200 pound running back carried the ball 13 times, leading all rushers with 134 yards. Banks and Edwards gave way to the underclassmen in the second half. Sophomore Teddy Williamson and freshman Darian Green each carried the ball 7 times, for 32 and 35 yards, respectively.
Cardinal receivers were led by KeVonn Mabon. The sophomore corralled in 11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Chris Shillings caught another 5 passes for 52 yards.
Viewed as the strength of the 2014 Cardinals, the defense started the season on the right note. Colgate converted just 2 of 13 third down opportunities. The Cardinal defense stuffed Colgate on a 4th and 1 on the Raider 29 early in the third quarter to take over on downs. Colgate managed 227 total yards, 137 in the air, and 90 on the ground.
Ball State kicker Scott Secor converted on 3 of 4 field goals. The senior connected on kicks of 38, 38, and 35 yards. He was wide right in the fourth quarter from 31 yards out.
Following a Colgate field goal early in the fourth quarter, senior cornerback Eric Patterson appeared to run the kickoff back 54 yards. That return was negated by a Ball State holding penalty that brought the ball back to the Cardinal 30 yard line.
Saturday's win marks the fifth consecutive season opening victory for the Cardinals.
Ball State travels to Kinnick Stadium in Iowa next Saturday to battle the Hawkeyes. Kickoff is at 3:30 PM Eastern Time.