Northern Illinois Falls to Ball State, 45-14

MUNCIE, Ind. - Ball State quarterback Nate Davis completed 18-of-22 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns to lead the 16th-ranked Cardinals to a 45-14 Mid-American Conference victory over Northern Illinois Wednesday at Scheumann Stadium.

The loss snapped Northern Illinois' three-game winning streak and dropped the Huskies' record to 5-4 on the year, 4-2 in the MAC while Ball State improved to 9-0, 5-0.

In addition to Davis' day, BSU tailback Miquale Lewis gained 119 yards on 19 carries and receiver Louis Johnson's six receptions went for 165 yards. The Cardinals rolled up 529 yards of total offense, the most gained versus the Huskies this year. NIU turned the ball over twice and accumulated five penalties to zero for Ball State.

Ball State took advantage of its opportunities, scoring its first touchdown on a Lewis one-yard plunge with 1:41 left in the first quarter after a roughing the punter penalty extended the Cardinals' second drive of the game. Davis hit Briggs Orsbon on a 33-yard pass to the NIU one to set up the score.

After the Huskie defense forced Ball State to punt on its next two possessions, the Cardinals struck again after a 33-yard pass from Davis to Johnson took BSU to the Huskie 25. Four plays later, Davis hit Darius Hill with the first of his two scores on the day and Ball State led 14-0.

BSU led 21-0 at the half as Davis completed 14-of-18 passes for 182 yards in the half.

While the Huskie defense struggled against Davis and his crew, Northern Illinois could not get its offense untracked with the exception of one third-quarter drive.

On that drive, which came on the opening drive of the second half, Huskie quarterback Chandler Harnish gained all 59 of his (net) rushing yards on three carries and Chad Spann accounted for the other 16 yards as Northern Illinois cut Ball State's lead to 21-7 and appeared ready to mount a comeback.

But Lewis put an end to that hope on BSU's next play, bursting through the middle for a 64-yard pick-up to the Huskie 16-yard line. Four plays later, Davis scored on a one-yard sneak and BSU extended its lead to 28-7 and never looked back.

Northern Illinois scored its final touchdown late in the game as Indiana native Ricky Crider scored on a 40-yard run to make the final margin 45-14.

Harnish completed 14-of-22 passes for 115 yards in the game, while fullback Connor Flahive caught four passes to lead NIU. Me'co Brown returned seven kickoffs for 185 yards with a career-high 44-yard return marking the longest by a Huskie player since the 2005 season. Linebacker Josh Allen led Northern Illinois with eight tackles and David Bryant added seven

Northern Illinois next takes on Central Michigan next Wednesday, Nov. 12 at Huskie Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (CST).

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