Bloomington – Indiana suffered a devastating loss Saturday, but Ball State might have suffered any even more devastating win.
MiQuale Lewis rushed for 166 yards and four touchdowns and Nate Davis completed 16-of-25 throws for 239 yards for the Cardinals, who whipped Indiana 42-20 at Memorial Stadium for their first-ever win over a BCS school.
The monumental win, though, was overshadowed by what appeared to be a serious injury to Ball State wide receiver Dante Love. The nation's leading wide receiver was motionless on the field for 15 minutes after what appeared to be a helmet-to-chest hit by IU cornerback Chris Adkins in the second quarter. Adkins' hit forced a fumble that IU safety Nick Polk recovered and returned 31 yards for a touchdown to cut Ball State's lead to 14-13, but the Hoosiers' celebration was short-lived.
Love was eventually immobilized and carted off the field and taken to Bloomington Hospital with what the Ball State Media Relations Department called "numbness and tingling." Soon afterwards, Love was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and no further updates on his condition were available.
"We sure hope Dante Love is okay," IU Coach Bill Lynch said afterwards. "He's a great kid, and we're praying that he's okay."
While Lynch's thoughts after the game were with Love, there's little doubt that he had some real concerns about his football team that was dominated on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Kellen Lewis completed just 11-of-25 throws for 159 yards and had a pair of costly first-half interceptions. The second of those picks came in the final two minutes of the second quarter which Sean Baker returned 40 yards for a touchdowns to give Ball State a 28-20 lead at halftime.
Lewis did run for 125 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, but the Hoosier tailbacks had very little success against the Cardinals' defense. Demetrius McCray totaled 37 yards on eight carries, while Marcus Thigpen was limited to 34 yards on eight carries.
The Hoosier passing attack also had its issues. Other than a couple of deep throws to Andrew Means had very little success through the air. Means finished with four catches for 102 yards, but no other player on the IU roster caught more than one ball.
Indiana's offensive woes were mirrored by the struggles on the defensive side, as Indiana had little to no success slowing down the Cardinals through the air or on the ground. Ball State piled up 463 yards of total offense, with 224 coming on the ground and 239 through the air.
While most expected the ultra-talented Davis to enjoy some success Saturday night, the biggest surprise was likely the Cardinals' ability to run the ball. Indiana entered the game ranked seventh nationally against the run, yielding less than 60 yards/game. In the last two meetings against Ball State in 2006 and 2007, the Cardinals averaged only 54.0 yards/game on the ground.
But it was a different story Saturday, as Lewis ran for 166 and Davis added 31 on six carries, including a couple of key scrambles that moved the chains.
"We didn't play the way we needed to play today," Lynch said.
As if the loss wasn't enough, IU also had a trio of starters go down with injuries. The Hoosiers lost both cornerback Chris Phillips and safety Nick Polk to knee injuries in the second quarter. Then late in the fourth quarter, starting left tackle Rodger Saffold also had to be helped
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