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Ball State Cardinals vs Western Michigan Broncos recap: Davis has big first half in 54-7 victory

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Corey Davis had a monster first half, and the Broncos used a big 2nd quarter to roll to a 54-7 victory.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Davis had a quiet October.  On a warm, November night at Waldo Stadium, he was determined to change that.

On just the 3rd play of the game, Zach Terrell hit the junior wide-out for a 65-yard touchdown to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead.  It would set the tone early on, but oddly enough, the Cardinals would settle in a bit first.  While their offense sputtered, the Ball State Cardinals (3-7, 2-4) were able to force a punt and a Jarvion Franklin fumble on the next two drives to hang in the game.

However, after Ball State missed a 48-yard field goal after the fumble, the Broncos blitzed their way out to score after score to bury the Cardinals.  First, Davis caught another touchdown, this time on a 17-yard slant route.  Then, after another three-and-out, LeVante Bellamy scored on a 9-yard run up the middle to make it 20-0 after a blocked PAT.  After another three-and-out, Davis caught another slant pass, then bounced off a defender on his way to a third score.  A muffed snap on a punt gave the Broncos great field position to hit a field goal to make it 30-0 at the half.

By then, the game was well in WMU control.  Davis had his first career three touchdown game, and Terrell had 289 yards while throwing as many touchdowns as incompletions (even more incredible is the fact that two of those came on end zone throws before the field goal).

But the Broncos kept pouring it on in the 2nd half.

Jamauri Bogan paced the Western Michigan run game, getting touchdowns on a 12-yard carry and a 76-yard run to help extend the lead.  Andrew Haldeman continued to impress after a sluggish start to the season, hitting a 41-yard field goal.  And despite the Cardinals breaking up the shutout on a Jordan Williams touchdown grab, Ball State needed 41 minutes of game time to reach the red zone.

Eventually, PJ Fleck elected to put in his back-ups, and Franklin - who hadn't seen any game action after his fumble - helped pace the the Broncos to another score, with the sophomore scoring his 29th career touchdown on a 15-yard run.  The rest of the 2nd-stringers saw the action the rest of the way, as both teams balked their way to a 54-7 final score.

Terrell finished 16-for-22 with 324 yards and three scores.  The Bronco rushing attack was well balanced.  Bogan finished with 171 yards and two scores on 18 carries.  Bellamy had 69 yards on 9 carries and a score while Franklin managed to finish with 40 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown.  Back-up QB Tom Flacco also had 43 yards on 5 carries.

Davis finished with 7 catches for 163 yards and three scores.  He is now 3rd all-time in the WMU record books for receiving touchdowns, three behind Jordan White's 32 touchdowns for 2nd.  Daniel Braverman finished the game with 72 yards on 5 catches while Kendrick Roberts had a respectable 42 yards on a pair of catches.

For the Cardinals, Riley Neal never got going.  He finished 12-for-25 with just 78 yards and the score to Williams.  He was the leading rusher for Ball State, with 38 yards on 6 carries.  James Gilbert had 37 yards on 8 carries, but a large bulk of his yards came on a 30-yard run to set up the lone touchdown.  Williams led all Cardinal receivers with 43 yards on 4 catches.

The Broncos now face the Bowling Green Falcons next week in a battle of the lone MAC unbeatens.  The Cardinals have a bye week now before they face the Ohio Bobcats on the road.