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Week 2 Recap: Ball State Cardinals Efficient On Third Down In Win Against UAB

Riley Neal was steady in the win

NCAA Football: Ball State at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The Ball State Cardinals let a close one get away against Illinois last week. This week, they took on a UAB Blazers team that was dormant for a few seasons. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after winning in their first game, I was confident they would be a solid test for the Cardinals.

Ball State jumped out to an early 14-3 on a Malik Dunner run and Riley Neal to Danny Pinter pass. The UAB offense stormed right back with A.J Erdely capping an 87 yard drive with a 41 yard TD run.

After stuffing a Cardinals 4th down attempt, UAB took the lead, 17-14 on a 4 play, 60 yard drive capped with an 18 yard run by Erdely. A big play in the drive was an Erdely pass to Sederian Copeland for 43 yds.

The Cardinals answered almost immediately with a Caleb Huntley 52 yard run, capping a 5 play, 73 yard drive. That ended the first half of scoring, 21-17.

UAB got the ball to start the second half and moved to the BSU 35 yard line before the drive stalled and ended on downs.

The Cardinals scored 10 points in their next two drives, and moved the lead to 31-17. A 6 play, 55 yard drive by the Blazers put the score to 31-24. On the ensuing kickoff, Malik Dunner returned it 93 yards for a touchdown and that seemed to break the UAB spirit.

After the Cardinals put the lead at 51-24, UAB added a touchdown with a minute and change left to give us the final score, 51-24.

Riley Neal finished the game with 217 yards and 2 touchdowns on 23 of 34 attempts. Caleb Hunter led Ball State rushers with 89 yards on 10 carries, including the 53 yard touchdown. James Gilbert added 2 rushing scores, and Dunner added another.

Freshman receiver Justin Hall showed a lot of promise, catching 8 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Worrisome if you are a Cardinals fan, they lost the yardage battle 504 to 377. The Blazers almost out gained them on the ground alone, getting 336 rushing yards. The difference maker was the Cardinals going 11-17 on third down.

The Cardinals host the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles next.