A wild offensive affair was ultimately decided by two kicks: one that never made it past the line of scrimmage, and one that sailed cleanly through the uprights. Jake Hogue made a 24-yard field goal in overtime, and Ball State capitalized on two late Navy miscues to pull out a 34-31 victory Saturday.
First, the Cardinals (2-1) forced overtime when Brandon Crawford blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt by Navy’s Matt Harmon as time expired. “The whole time I was like, I’ve got to make a play, I’ve got to make a play” Crawford said.
Then, on the first play of overtime, Ball State recovered a fumble by backup quarterback Jarod Bryant, who entered in the second half for injured starter Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada. MiQuale Lewis ran four straight times to the 7 before Hogue kicked the game-winner. “I knew it was going to come down to me,” Hogue said.
Navy (1-2) finished with 585 yards, including 521 on the ground – third-most in school history. Ball State amassed 539 yards, 277 of them on passes by Nate Davis. Davis went 19-for-33, throwing three touchdown passes and running for another. Lewis finished with 161 yards rushing on 27 carries.
“I had a great night. Doing it here against Navy, it’s a dream,” Lewis said. “We had to have people step up, and I guess I was one of those people.”
Eric Kettani ran for 126 yards for Navy and Kaheaku-Enhada had 117 before leaving at halftime with two sprained ankles. It was the second overtime game in Navy history; last year, Harmon had a conversion try blocked in a 24-23 loss to Tulsa. This game, like that one, was about missed opportunities.
“We had a fundamental play in a 32-yard field goal and we didn’t do it,” Navy coach Paul Johnson said. “Then in overtime, we couldn’t have asked for them to line up any better with the play we called. I think he might have scored if he got the ball. But we fumbled it and they went down and scored.” Said Bryant: “I was trying to get down and the defender came in on me as I was pitching it. I waited too long.”
Ball State Players Celebrate the Overtime Victory
|Kettani put the Midshipmen ahead with a 71-yard run that made it 31-24 with 7:17 left. The fullback burst through a hole at the line and cut toward the outside before beating two pursuers to the corner of the end zone. Ball State came right back, tying it with a 12-yard touchdown pass from White to Lewis.
Earlier, Navy took a 24-21 lead with 11:28 left when Harmon kicked a 25-yard field goal. Hogue retied it by kicking a 27-yard field goalwith 8:12 to go. Navy played without defensive starters Clint Sovie and Jeff Deliz, both of whom underwent season-ending surgery Thursday. Without them, a defense that yielded 60 points and 749 yards in its first two games became even more vulnerable.
Down 21-14, Navy turned to Bryant at the start of the third quarter. The 5-foot-10 junior delivered, running twice for 18 yards to set up a 24-yard touchdown run by Kettani. Entering the fourth quarter, the score (21-21) and the yardage (395-395) were perfectly even. Even the penalties (three apiece) were identical. Bryant played well for two quarters, but couldn’t complete the job. “He made some plays. He made some mistakes,” Johnson said. “The last one was a huge one.”
Navy took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards in 12 running plays to go up 7-0. Davis answered with a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darius Hill. Ball State used a trick play to take a 14-7 lead. Wide receiver Dante Love took the snap in shotgun formation and sent a long lateral to Davis, who threw a pass back to Love. Love caught the ball in stride and ran down the right sideline for a 50-yard score.
The Midshipmen tied it on an 80-yard run by Kaheaku-Enhada. Not to be outdone, Davis finished an 80-yard drive by running in from the 5.