Ball State thrashes Army, 48-21

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) On one side, Ball State's Keith Wenning couldn't seem to miss a completion. On the other side, Army's quarterbacks couldn't complete one - period.

Wenning threw for a career-high 324 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdown passes, leading the host Cardinals past Army 48-21 on Saturday for their first victory over the Black Knights in three tries.

"We saw their secondary had a couple weak guys, so we wanted to take advantage of it," said Wenning, who finished 24 of 30 with no interceptions. He was replaced by backup Kelly Page after the third quarter.

Willie Snead had 10 receptions for 180 yards and one touchdown, while Jahwan Edwards rushed for 64 yards and three touchdowns for the Cardinals (3-1), who defeated Indiana in the opener and Buffalo on Sept. 17. Ball State last began a season 3-1 in 1995.

"This turned out to be a pretty good month of September," Cardinals coach Pete Lembo said. "It probably exceeded my expectations just because we have such a long way to go in so many areas before we feel complete."

Raymond Maples had 16 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns for the Black Knights (1-3), who were seeking their first back-to-back wins since early last season. Jared Hassin added 17 carries and 111 yards.

Army finished with 402 rushing yards on 59 attempts, but it had no completions and no passing yards. Trent Steelman finished 0 for 3 with an interception, and Max Jenkins had one incomplete pass.

"We don't expect to be that one-dimensional, but we didn't stay on the field long enough," Black Knights coach Rich Ellerson said. "If we're going to be effective throwing the ball, it's not going to happen on third-and-long. If we're going to challenge people throwing the ball, it's going to be in early downs or either-or situations.

"It's not like we didn't call any (passing) plays; we just couldn't complete any,'' Ellerson added. "We completed one, but it was to them."

Ball State wasted no time taking control of the game, marching down the field on its opening possession. Edwards' 3-yard scoring run capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Edwards found the end zone again, this time from 12 yards out, to make it 14-0. Wenning followed with scoring passes to Jamill Smith and Snead on consecutive possessions later in the quarter, extending the lead to 28-0.

Steven Schott's 21-yard field goal to end the first half gave the Cardinals a 31-0 advantage. Ball State finished the half with 333 yards of total offense and 17 first downs, compared to Army's 101 yards and four first downs.

After another Cardinals' touchdown in the third quarter, the Black Knights cut the deficit to 38-7 on Maples' 1-yard scoring run with 4:11 left in the quarter. Maples scored on a 19-yard run early in the fourth, and Terry Baggett added a 7-yard touchdown run for Army with 1:07 left.

"Give them credit," Ellerson said. "Their offensive line played wonderfully. Their quarterback played his best game. We didn't have the answers to counter that."

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