Ball State overcomes 14-point deficit to defeat Eagles, 29-27

Ball State had two touchdowns and a safety in the third quarter to overcome Eastern Michigan University’s 14-point lead and win 29-27 Saturday at Rynearson Stadium in a game between winless Mid-American Conference teams.

MiQuale Lewis had 26 carries for 301 yards – a school record – and a touchdown. Cory Sykes had 203 yards rushing and three touchdowns. BSU had 463 yards rushing and only 1-yard passing.

EMU (0-7, 0-4) scored on its opening drive when Kyle McMahon threw a 3-yard pass to Ben Thayer, which capped an 11-play, 45-yard drive. It was the first time the Eagles had a touchdown in the first quarter, and the first time it had led at any point in a game.

“I thought we started off good with a lot of emotion and intensity,” EMU coach Ron English said.

It didn’t take long for BSU (1-7, 1-3) to respond as Cory Sykes had a 51-yard touchdown run, but the extra points were blocked to hold EMU’s lead at 7-6 with 4:52 to play in the first quarter.

EMU opened up the second quarter with a 20-yard field goal by Joe Carithers, but the score was after it was stopped on three straight rushing attempts at the Ball State 1-yard line. EMU had been ruled a touchdown before the stand, but the play was reversed.

EMU then scored 10 straight points. The first score came on a 12-yard run by Corey Welch. The Eagles added another field goal (26 yards) by Carithers to make it 20-6 with 6:37 left in the half.

BSU answered with Lewis’ 48-yard touchdown run to make the halftime score 20-13.

“That touchdown that they scored right before the first half—that was big,” English said. “Now you give them momentum back into the game.”

The Eagles started the third quarter with a 10-yard scoring run by DeAnthony White to put them ahead 27-13.

After the score by EMU, Ball State began to mount its comeback. Sykes punched in a 6-yard touchdown run that highlighted an 8-play, 93-yard drive in the third quarter.

With 5:33 left in the third quarter, defensive end Robert Eddins blocked a punt attempt by EMU punter Zach Johnson, which resulted in a safety. Johnson was injured on the play and did not return.

BSU went up for good late in the third quarter when Sykes scored his final touchdown on a 37-yard run.

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