BLOOMINGTON – 1.
That was the single digit that showed on the Memorial Stadium clock just before Ball State senior Steven Schott kicked a 42-yard field goal that beat Indiana 41-39 in a wild finish Saturday.
Not :01, or 0:01. Just 1, as in the second that was left, the number of plays that remained, the team stunned, the team thrilled.
The field goal took the life out of the Hoosiers (2-1) after it appeared they had rallied from a 38-25 deficit in a shade over four minutes.
For nearly a quarter and a half, Indiana seemed dead in the water.
Its 25-24 halftime lead had been erased by Ball State, which outscored the Hoosiers 14-zip in a third quarter that was so lackluster for Indiana, it had only one first down in three failed series.
But the Hoosiers caught a spark when freshman quarterback Nate Sudfeld hit Cody Latimer on a 70-yard touchdown pass with 4:07 left.
Then with 49 seconds remaining, with the help of three Ball State pass interference penalties, the Hoosiers climbed on top 39-38 when Sudfeld flipped a 2-yard score to Shane Wynn and Mitch Ewald followed with the kick.
It would be the second-most important kick of the night.
It was never over, said Sudfeld, who completed 13 of 20 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for us, they made some big plays, and the emotions were high and low. We’re trying to stay level-headed the whole time.
Sudfeld came in relief of Cam Coffman, who suffered a hip injury, according to Indiana coach Kevin Wilson. Coffman hit 24 of 35 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns.
In all, Indiana piled up 558 total yards of offense.
But Ball State had one more play.
It was shocking, said Latimer, who had 115 yards receiving and two touchdowns. It was like, man, it was right there in our hands and we could have had it, should’ve had it.
Although the game was decided on the final field goal, Wilson pointed to the anemic third quarter as the reason for the Hoosiers’ downfall.
This is a good team, Wilson said. It’s going to get a heck of a lot better every second of every day. I promise you, we’re going to put a team together this school is going to take some pride in.
For Ball State (2-1), it was the third successive win over the Hoosiers.
Last year the Cardinals beat Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium to spoil the debut of Wilson, and in 2008, Ball State also won.
Got to give Ball State a lot of credit, Wilson said.