Through three and a half quarters at Iowa it looked like Ball State would knock off a fifth power conference team in the Pete Lembo era. Ultimately though, the Cardinals fell to the Hawkeyes, 17-13 in Iowa City.
Ball State held a 13-3 lead with under three minutes remaining before Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock connected with freshman wide receiver Derrick Willies to close the gap to one score. After forcing the Cardinals to a three and out, Rudock led a 6 play 59 yard drive elapsing 1:23, punctuated by a Rudock to Jake Duzey 12 yard touchdown pass.
Ball State received the ball down four with one minute remaining. The upset hopes were dashed when Drew Ott forced an Ozzie Mann fumble on the Ball State 33 yard line that was recovered by Hawkeye Carl Davis.
To that point, everything had gone the Cardinals way. Prior to the final play, Ball State quarterback Ozzie Mann had played turnover free football. In his second career start Mann completed 15 of 30 passes for 129 yards.
The ground game for Ball State was similarly safe if not spectacular. Jahwan Edwards carried the ball 21 times for 81 yards. Horactio Banks, who last week against Colgate topped the 100 yard mark with Edwards, rushed 11 times for 23 yards.
KeVonn Mabon was Mann's favorite target for the second week in a row. Mabon caught 3 passes for 44 yards. Ball State deep threat Jordan Williams, who left last week's game with an ankle injury, caught just 2 passes for 18 yards.
Despite not scoring a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeye passing game was active all day. Rudock completed 33 of 52 passes for a career high 322 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Ball State stuffed the Iowa rushing attack all afternoon. The Hawkeyes managed just 113 yards, led by Rudock's 36 on 7 carries. Jordan Canzeri contributed 26 yards on 5 carries.
Through the air, Rudock most frequently hooked up with Kevonte Martin-Manley. The senior receiver corralled 8 passes for 70 yards. Rudock was efficient in spreading the wealth. 11 Hawkeyes caught passes.
The kicking game did everything they could to give away this game for Iowa. Marshall Koehn hit one field goal in the first half, from 26 yards out, and missed two, from 35 and 37. In the second half, Koehn was replaced by freshman Mick Ellis, who was unable to split the uprights on his one attempt, from 29 yards out.
Cardinals kicker Scott Secor was more successful, responsible for all of the Ball State offensive points. Secor missed from 53 yards in the first half, but connected from 42 and 27.
Ball State's lone touchdown came on the defensive side of the ball. On the third play of the second quarter, Blake Dueitt returned a Rudock fumble 35 yards to open the scoring. On the play, Iowa All-American left tackle Brandon Scherff was injured attempting to make a tackle. He would leave the game, but return late in the first half.
Despite outgaining the Cardinals in total offense, 455-219, the time of possesion game remained close. Iowa held the ball for just over 31 minutes, Ball State was in possession for 29.
Ball State is back at home next week. The Cardinals welcome the Indiana State Sycamores to Scheumann Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 PM, ET.