Ball State head coach Mike Neu couldn’t have hoped for a better home opener for the Cardinals on Saturday. In his first game leading BSU at Scheumann Stadium, the Cards rolled over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, 42-14 in a game not nearly as close as the score indicates.
This one was over before it started. Eastern Kentucky marched to the Ball State 27, before giving up the ball on fourth down. Cardinals quarterback Riley Neal then engineered a 10 play, 73 yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown pass to Devin Reece to put the BSU up 7-0.
With under a minute left in the first quarter, Ball State found the end zone again, this time after an 81 yard, 10 play drive. The first half was much of the same. Neal completed his first 17 passes, and the Cardinals took a 27-0 lead into the locker room.
Ball State didn’t strike again until late in the third quarter. James Gilbert punched it in from yard out to extend the lead to extend the Cardinal lead to 34-0. Ball State took that lead into the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals finished their scoring for the afternoon with just under six minutes remaining in the game. Teddy Williamson collected Ball State’s third rushing touchdown of the day and stretched the lead to 41-0. With the game well in hand, EKU would add a pair of touchdowns to close out a 41-14.
Neal’s day ended with impressive totals of 238 yards on 28 of 39 passing and two touchdowns. He added another 44 yards on the ground on 10 carries.
James Gilbert lead Ball State’s rushing attack with 67 yards on 21 carries. Williamson carried the ball 9 times for 42 yards.
Eastern Kentucky struggled to get anything done on Saturday against the Ball State defense. The Cardinals forced a pair of Colonel turnovers and held EKU to 3 rushing yards. Cardinal defenders sacked Eastern Kentucky quarterbacks 8 times. Penalties also plagued the Colonels. They were flagged 13 times totaling 128 yards.
Ball State is back on the road next week. The Cardinals wrap up non-conference play at Florida Atlantic before returning home to open up the MAC season with Northern Illinois on October 1st.