A week after allowing 698 total yards in a loss to Northern Illinois, the Flashes limited Ball State to 423 yards -- nearly 50 below its average -- during Saturday's 27-24 loss in Muncie, Ind.
The Cardinals had scored a touchdown on either their first or second drive of every game this year and were averaging over 14 points in the first quarter, but were blanked by Kent State in the opening quarter.
Ball State had also scored points in 29-of-31 trips to the red zone, but were 2-of-5 against KSU.
The Flashes notched an interception in the end zone by sophomore free safety Keenan Stalls on a pass tipped by sophomore linebacker Matt Dellinger, and a fumble recovery in the end zone by junior cornerback Dylan Farrington after a jarring hit by sophomore Jordan Italiano on Ball State's first two possessions.
The fumble recovery was Kent State's first of the season, and the three turnovers forced were a season-high.
Kent State's offense held the ball for 36:52, mostly thanks to a rushing attack that produced 223 yards on 46 carries. The Flashes finished with 407 total yards and 23 first downs.
Star sophomore punter/kicker Anthony Melchiori (Aurora) suffered an injury to his right hamstring while making a tackle during a kickoff return and is also considered "doubtful" for Saturday's game.
Among those who played despite injuries were standout senior defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix (back) and sophomore nose tackle Nate Terhune, who broke his leg just four weeks ago during KSU's Sept. 14 loss at LSU.
"Nate Terhune went in there and played eight plays. We weren't (able to keep) him on the sideline," said Haynes. "Rosie is banged up like crazy right now, (sophomore right tackle Jason) Bitsko with his ankle, (senior guard Pat) McShane with his knee . it's all over the place. But our guys are still champing at the bit to get out there. We need straight jackets to keep guys off the field cause they want to get out there for their teammates. That is why you love this locker room, cause you've got guys like that who are gonna go out there with one arm, one leg and just give it all they've got."
FACKLER'S TIP DRILL
Kent State senior defensive end Mark Fackler got a hand on three passes at the line of scrimmage, one of which was picked off by senior defensive back Darius Polk.
"We practiced that a lot this week," said Fackler. "We noticed other teams had chances to knock down the ball. I didn't see it until later in the game where I could do it, but I saw it and tried to take advantage of it as much as I could."
BACKUP BOOTER STEPS UP
Junior punter Andrew Horning (Stow) hit four solid punts after starter Anthony Melchiori (Aurora) was injured. He averaged 42.8 yards per punt, none were returned.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
Haynes, on Kent State's stunning rash of injuries: "We may have to practice playing two-hand tag this week. . There's a lot of guys out there battling that are, I mean, they wouldn't be cleared to play on the next level. They really wouldn't be. And they're out there, and they're battling like crazy. That's what makes you so proud."
MILESTONE FOR LEMBO
Ball State head coach Pete Lembo earned his 100th career win, and was relieved.
"I don't know if people will appreciate this as much as we do, but we beat a good football team today," said Lembo. "I am very proud of the kids. I think Kent State played a great game. It's nice to see us find a way to win a close game."
The Cardinals have now won eight MAC games in a row and 12 of their last 13 in league play.
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