The Ball State Cardinals came out of the tunnel for Wednesday’s game against the Central Michigan Chippewas focused and looking to make a statement. Any thoughts of a possible “trap” game were put to rest behind the big plays of the Cardinals wide receivers in their dominating 44-24 home victory.
From the opening drive, the Cardinals executed the vertical passing game to perfection in opening up a 7-0 lead. Cardinal quarterback Keith Wenning carved up the Central Michigan secondary hitting big plays to wide receivers Willie Snead and Jordan Williams.
Ball State’s ability to connect over the top of the Chippewas’ secondary forced Central Michigan to play more zone coverage. This allowed the Cardinals wide receivers to find soft spots in the Chippewas’ secondary and allowed Wenning to throw three first half touchdowns. Wenning did most of his damage in the first half in which he completed 13-of-20 passes and led the Cardinals to five scoring drives in opening up the 31-3 halftime lead.
On the night, Wenning completed 20-of-29 passes for 299 yards with four touchdowns with no interceptions. Wenning’s favorite target of the game was wide receiver Willie Snead who had a team high nine receptions for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Wide receiver Jamil Smith contributed over the middle by catching crossing patterns against the Central Michigan defense. Smith finished the game with six receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown. The success of the vertical passing game opened up the rushing attack, and in the second half Ball State was able to bleed the clock and force Central Michigan out of its comfort zone.
Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. at Northern Illinois.