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Virginia Military Institute vs. Ball State Cardinals football recap: Green, Gilbert shine in 48-36 victory

Sophomore tailback Darian Green found the end zone four times, and James Gilbert scored twice as Ball State opens 2015 with a win.

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Ball State took down VMI 48-36 on Thursday night to earn win number one of 2015.

Ball State's offense was too dynamic for the Keydets as the Cardinals scored five times on the ground, and quarterback Jack Milas set career highs in completions, attempts, and yards passing. Milas added a touchdown pass as the Cardinal offense out-gained VMI 567-547. Sophomore running back Darian Green tied a Ball State record, becoming only the sixth player in Ball State football history to score four touchdowns in a game. Milas finished 34-52 with 338 yards, and one touchdown.

VMI converted less than half of its third down conversions as the Keydets offense was unable to find a rhythm throughout the evening. Although the offense wasn't stagnant, the Keydets were unable to consistently put the ball in the endzone. Quarterback Al Cobb finished 33-47 with 399 yards passing and threw 3 touchdowns. Freshman wide receiver Dontae Mauck caught 2 passes for 131 yards to lead the Keydets.

Midway through the fourth quarter it looked as though the momentum had completely shifted to the Keydets as their defense stuffed Ball State three consecutive times. VMI was able to trim the deficit to ten, trailing only 34-24, but was unable to further close the gap. The door slammed shut as Joshua Posely sacked Cobb, forcing his first fumble of the season, giving the Cardinals the football in VMI territory. James Gilbert carried it home from there, scoring his second rushing touchdown of the night with 7:41 remaining to put the Cardinals up 41-24. VMI used a fake punt and two pass plays to score late, shrinking the lead to 41-30 after a missed PAT, but the deficit was too big for the Keydets to give Ball State any large concern.

Darian Green made his fourth visit to the endzone late in the fourth quarter to extend the Ball State lead to 48-30 before Derrick Ziglar added a rushing touchdown for VMI to bring the score to 48-36 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.

Morgan Hagee was 2-2 on field goals, scoring six points for Ball State.

Ball State opens 1-0 (0-0) on the season, and drops VMI to 0-1 (0-0).

Ball State's next game will be an away affair as the Cardinals travel to College Station, Texas, to battle Texas A&M.