Ball State Remains Perfect!
Nov. 25, 2008
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - Ball State's combination of MiQuale Lewis and Nate Davis was too much for Western Michigan.
Lewis ran for three touchdowns, setting a single-season school record, and Davis threw for one score and ran for another to help the 15th-ranked Cardinals remain one of the nation's four undefeated teams with a 45-22 victory Tuesday night.
It was a milestone win for Ball State.
The Cardinals (12-0, 8-0 Mid-American Conference) completed their first perfect regular season since 1949, their first undefeated season in MAC play since 1978 and they finally clinched a spot in the conference title game. They'll face Buffalo on Dec. 5 in Detroit with a chance to win their first league championship since 1996.
Not surprisingly, Davis and Lewis were the crux of Western Michigan's problems.
Davis exposed the Broncos' holes in the secondary, Lewis kept the offense balanced and Trey Lewis' 35-yard interception return late in the third quarter sealed it.
Western Michigan (9-3, 6-2) just couldn't keep pace with Ball State and has lost six of the last eight in this series.
With a party atmosphere in Muncie, the Cardinals weren't about to be derailed.
A school-record 11,088 students attended the game and fans repeatedly waved white towels. One fan even brought a sign that summed up the season. It read: "Perfect-O."
Ball State's fast start got the crowd riled up.
Lewis started it by ducking under a defender, staying on his feet and scooting in for a 10-yard touchdown run. On Ball State's next series, Davis zipped a 40-yard touchdown pass to Lewis Johnson, whose stop-and-go move enabled him to elude two defenders.
Western Michigan responded with a trick play, scoring when Tim Hiller threw a lateral to backup quarterback Drew Burdi, who turned and heaved a 36-yard TD pass to Scneider Julien, making it 14-7.
The Broncos tied it early in the second quarter on a beautiful lob from Hiller to Juan Nunez, who caught the 9-yard pass over his shoulder.
Then Ball State really turned it up.
The Cardinals broke the tie on a 43-yard field goal from Ian McGarvey and took a 24-14 halftime lead when Davis scrambled for a 6-yard TD run, his fourth rushing score of the season. Lewis' 1-yard TD plunge late in the third quarter and Lewis' interception return made it 38-14.
Western Michigan closed to 38-22 early in the fourth when Brandon West scored on an 8-yard TD run.
But Lewis closed it out with a 1-yard TD run with 4:31 to go, his 20th rushing score of the season, which broke the previous record set by Mark Bornholdt in 1979.