DETROIT, MI – Ball State traveled to Detroit for the Mid-American Conference championship game against Buffalo on Friday.
The Cardinals (5-1) are in the title game for the first time since 2008. They face a Bulls (5-0) team they defeated in this championship competition more than a decade ago. You have the chance to be the first BSU team since 1996 to win a conference title.
It didn’t take Buffalo long to score first after Ball State won the shot and put it off. He reached the end zone with 11:59 in the first quarter and got the extra point for a 7-0. The Bulls scored on a three yard run by Jaret Patterson. Their ride lasted six games and 71 yards and took 2:56 off the clock, with the sparkling game being a 54 yard pass.
Ball State reacted quickly, however, and after 11 games and a 75-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Drew Plitt to Yo’Heinz Tyler, the score was 7-7 – and an extra point. The Cardinals ride took 4:12.
Buffalo then took the lead again at 3:41 in the first quarter on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Vantrease to Trevor Wilson. The score completed a drive that lasted eight games, 69 yards, and took 3:59 off the clock. After the extra point it was 14-7.
After Buffalo’s defense forced a three, Ball State failed to keep the cops in fourth and short place, and Buffalo’s drive into BSU territory continued as the first quarter ended.
Buffalo almost scored again just before the second quarter, but this time it was a field goal and that field goal attempt failed to make it through the posts. Alex McNulty’s 27-yard attempt was blocked and returned the ball to BSU with 11:52 before half-time. It is the Cardinals’ first field goal block since 2011 and has been credited to Jimmy Daw.
Ball State drew 8:49 in the second quarter after a 1-yard touchdown from Drew Plitt and an extra point. Plitt’s score ended a run that lasted 10 games, 80 yards, and took 3:03 off the clock. And the drive contained a number of critical closings from Plitt to its recipients.
Buffalo quickly took the lead again, this time with a 1-yard touchdown from Kyle Vantrease. The number of points and the subsequent extra point brought the bulls 7:31 in the second quarter to 21-14. Buffalo’s drive took most of his yards on a 57-yard pass from Kyle Vantrease to Trevor Wilson and lasted only three games when it went down to 76 yards in 1:11.
Ball State then reunited at 5:55 in the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Drew Plitt to Justin Hall and an extra point. The six-game 75 yard drive took 1:36 off the clock, made it 21-21, and also included key games from Yo’Heinz Tyler and Tye Evans.
Ball State then took advantage of a Buffalo three-and-out to take the lead at 1:30 in the second quarter, 28-21. The Cardinals scored a 56-yard touchdown pass from Drew Plitt to Jalen McGaughy and then an extra point. The ride lasted six games and 83 yards and took 2:42 off the clock.
Ball State extended its lead to a 34-yard fumble return for touchdown, with 0:48 in the second quarter. Jimmy Daw forced a sack into a sack, which was recovered by Christian Albright and taken to the end zone.
Ball State started the quarter with the ball, taking their time before sending Jacob Lewis out on a 21-yard field goal. Lewis hit the attempt at 9:10 in the quarter to give the Cardinals a 38-21 lead. The BSU’s journey lasted 16 games, 76 meters and 5:45.
After two defensive stops each for Ball State and Buffalo, the Bulls scored a 67-yard touchdown from Kevin Marks with 1:16 in the quarter. After the extra point, Ball State’s lead fell to 38-28. Buffalo’s drive lasted two games, 78 yards and 0:25.
In the first game of the quarter, Ball State’s Antonio Phillips intercepted a low pass thrown by Buffalo’s Kyle Vantrease. And then on the BSU’s next voyage, Drew Plitt of the BSU threw an interception that was caught by James Patterson of Buffalo.
Jordan Guskey reports on Ball State and East Central Indiana high schools to the Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5813, jmguskey @ muncie. gannett. com or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.
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