MAC football notebook: Ball State falls short in upset bid against Northwestern

By Tyler Movsessian

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Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

Ball State’s strong upset bid was denied against No. 17 Northwestern Saturday, as the Wildcats triumphed 24-19.

After a remarkable game last weekend against Eastern Michigan, Ball State quarterback Riley Neal couldn’t mimic his success this weekend as the Cardinals (2-2, 1-0 Mid American Conference) allowed 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to the Wildcats (4-0).

Ball State fought Northwestern hard, forcing quarterback Clayton Thorson into three turnovers in the first half. The Cardinals went into the locker room at halftime with a 10-7 lead.

But it was all Wildcats from there on.

Northwestern, the third-best scoring defense in the country, at 8.8 points allowed per game, flustered Neal, who finished 14-of-35 for 178 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.

Wildcats running back Justin Jackson finished with a career-high 184 rushing yards on 33 carries while wide receiver Dan Vitale recorded 108 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

For the Cardinals, wide receiver Jordan Williams finished with eight receptions, 133 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.

Ball State next hosts Toledo Saturday at 3 p.m.

Toledo routs Arkansas State, remains only unbeaten in MAC

In a rematch of last year’s GoDaddy Bowl, Toledo once again defeated Arkansas State in a 37-7 rout Saturday. The Rockets (3-0) defense forced five Red Wolf (1-3) turnovers, including a pick-six from Toledo safety Rolan Milligan.

Rockets quarterback Phillip Ely was impressive, throwing for 308 yards and an interception. He set a career-high in passing attempts (52), while completing 25 of them.

Running backs Terry Swanson (two) and Damion Jones-Moore (one) each added rushing touchdowns for Toledo.

Arkansas State quarterback James Tabbary struggled Saturday committing four turnovers. He was 18-of-35 passing for  223 yards, three interceptions and a fumble.

The Red Wolves struggled even more mightily in their rushing game, finishing with a net total of -14 yards on the ground.

Kent State falls to Marshall in double overtime thriller

Kent State collapsed in the second half and saw a 19-6 third quarter lead vanish against Marshall, losing 36-29 in double overtime Saturday.

The Golden Flashes (1-3) couldn’t answer Tony Pittman’s seven-yard touchdown run in the second overtime after each team scored a touchdown in the first overtime.

The Thundering Herd (3-1) outscored Kent State 29-10 after it took a 19-7 lead midway through the third quarter thanks to quarterback Chase Litton, who threw for 151 yards, two interceptions and two touchdowns on 14-of-36 passing. Pittman was also impressive for Marshall with 129 rushing yards on 24 carries for a pair of touchdowns.

The Golden Flashes had several strong performances including quarterback Colin Reardon, who was 13-for-34 passing with 187 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Trayion Durham went for 114 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown, while wide receiver Raekwon James caught three passes for 77 yards.

Kent State opens conference play against Miami (OH) Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Tyler Movessian-Murphy can be reached at [email protected]