The Ohio Bobcats (7-4, 5-3 MAC) thoroughly dominated in all phases of the game to stifle the upset-minded Ball State Cardinals (3-8, 2-5 MAC) for a final score of 48-31 at Peden Stadium on Tuesday night.
JD Sprague (15/22, 275 yards, three touchdowns) got the start for the injured Derrius Vick and definitely made the best of the opportunity, hitting receivers with lasers the entire night and helping the team average 7.8 yards per play. AJ Ouelette had a career high game, with 22 carries totaling 121 yards and two touchdowns and two catches for 26 additional yards. That wasn't all for the Bobcats. Ohio hung 607 yards of offense on a hapless Ball State defense, which ranks as one of the worst defenses in the FBS and found multiple contributors that don't normally get looks, such as Jordan Reid (4receptions, 112 yards, two touchdowns), and Duron Brown (12 carries, 82 yards). Daz'Mond Patterson (4 carries, 44 yards, one touchdown) and Sebastian Smith (7 receptions, 89 yards, and one touchdown) also added to the scoreboard for the Bobcats.
On the opposite side, the Bobcat defense, effectively neutralized Riley Neal (16/34, 309 total yards, three total touchdowns) until the game was well out of hand. The Cardinals offense was very much reliant on Neal's arm, as Ke'Vonn Mabon led all receivers with ten receptions and 139 yards, while adding a touchdown. Mabon also made big plays on special teams, flashing his speed with a 52-yard pickup. Jordan Williams (3 rec., 78 yards, one touchdown) and Dylan Curry (2 catches, 22 yards) were the only other receivers to grab more than one pass. Darian Green led the Ball State rushing attack with 74 yards and a score, while James Gilbert was limited in today's action, getting 12 carries for 38 yards, which averages out to 3.8 yards per rush.
While Ohio has been shut out of the MAC East race thanks to Bowling Green clinching the crown last week, there was still something to play for; the win clinched Ohio's seventh year of bowl eligibility. Ohio had made five straight bowls before being shut out of the festivities at 6-6 last season. Ohio can play spoiler to Northern Illinois, who looks to try and clinch a MAC West crown, next week on a Tuesday night game at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Ball State, meanwhile, takes a second straight tough loss, after getting wiped out against Western Michigan last week. Their only conference wins have been against Massachusetts and Eastern Michigan, both of which are cellar-dwellers in their respective divisions, and the road doesn't get any easier, as they have the privilege of hosting Bowling Green (coming off of a loss to Toledo in a bitter rivalry game) in their final game of the year. That game will be on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN3.