(Wednesday, November 5th)
Final Score: (16) Ball State 45, Northern Illinois 14
Muncie, IN (Sports Network) - Nate Davis was spectacular in throwing four touchdown passes and adding a score on the ground, as the 16th-ranked Ball State Cardinals maintained their dream season with a 45-14 drubbing of Mid-American Conference foe Northern Illinois.
Davis tossed for 300 yards while connecting on a 18-of-22 throws for Ball State (9-0, 5-0 MAC), which has won its first nine games for the first time since the 1965 campaign.
Louis Johnson was Davis' favorite target with six catches for 165 yards and a touchdown, while Darius Hill caught a pair of scores for the Cardinals, who owned a 529-275 advantage in total yards.
MiQuale Lewis led the ground game with 119 yards and a score in the lopsided victory.
Chandler Harnish had his hands full with a stingy Ball State defense, throwing for just 115 yards with an interception on 14-of-22 passing for the Huskies (5-4, 4-2 MAC), who were riding a three-game winning streak.
Harnish led Northern Illinois in rushing with 59 yards and a touchdown.
NIU's roughing the kicker penalty jumped-started Ball State's first scoring drive late in the first quarter. While on the run, Davis hit Briggs Orsbon for a 33-yard gain down to the NIU one, and Lewis took a toss to the left side and spun into the end zone off several tacklers for a 7-0 lead.
The Huskies managed to penetrate Ball State territory just once in the first half, but Harnish was intercepted at the BSU 23 to end their lone threat.
Later in the half, Davis led a five-play, 58-yard march that culminated in Hill's leaping six-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone with 6:20 to play before the break.
Davis and the Cardinals got the ball at their own 36 after a quick three-and- out from the visitors. The junior signal-caller proceeded to hit 4-of-4 on the drive for 63 yards, the last a 25-yard TD to Daniel Ifft on a post pattern down the middle of the field to go ahead 21-0.
The Huskies came out with an inspired opening drive in the second half. Abandoning the pass, NIU needed six plays to march 75 yards, and Harnish's 25- yard TD run down the left sideline gave the underdogs some life.
But Ball State answered with 24 straight points. Lewis rushed for 64 yards on the first snap of the ensuing possession, and Davis called his own number several plays later for a one-yard touchdown run.
An Ian McGarvey 18-yard field goal made it a 31-7 game in favor of BSU, and Davis connected on two touchdown passes in the span of 1:36.
With a minute left in the third, Johnson hauled in a 22-yard score, and, following another quick Huskies possession, Hill brought in his second touchdown with a 20-yard reception 36 seconds into the fourth.
Ricky Crider had a 40-yard scoring run in the waning moments of the game for Northern Illinois to account for the final margin.
Ball State owns a 20-14-2 lead in the all-time series with Northern Illinois. The victory Wednesday gave BSU the first-ever Bronze Stalk Trophy...The Cardinals will look to remain perfect next Tuesday when they face Miami-Ohio.
11/06 00:19:33 ET