Live: #17 Western Michigan at Ball State

[The Sports Opinion :: Western Michigan vs Ball State Preview]

Click here to check out my preview of this game.

Before tonight's game between MAC opponents Western Michigan and Ball State, ESPN released the first College Football Playoff rankings.  The undefeated Western Michigan Broncos start the CFP rankings as the #23 team.  Western Michigan is currently ranked as the #17 team in the country in the AP Top 25 poll.

Jack Milas will get the start at quarterback for Ball State, replacing the injured Riley Neal.  Neal has not been ruled out and is dressed on the sidelines.

The scoring started quickly in Muncie.  With Ball State driving, Western Michigan cornerback Darius Phillips intercepted Ball State QB Jack Milas and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.  With 12:08 remaining in the first quarter, #17 Western Michigan took an early 7-0 lead over Ball State.

On the drive, Ball State RB James Gilbert picked up 18 yards, which put him at 1,005 on the season.

Ball State bounced right back though.  A 50-yard run by Malik Dunner got the Cardinals on the board and evened the score.

A 23-yard touchdown run by Jarvion Franklin capped off an extremely efficient drive for Western Michigan.  The Broncos used 8 plays for 80 yards, while taking only 3:30 off of the clock.  With 4:59 left in the first quarter, Western Michigan has taken a 14-7 lead over Ball State.

Potential NFL first round draft pick Corey Davis pulled in a 57 yard touchdown pass from QB Zach Terrell.  The Colts, Titans, Eagles, and 49ers are all in attendance tonight watching the Western Michigan wide receiver.  

At the end of the first quarter, Ball State trails Western Michigan 21-7.  Ball State running back James Gilbert has 103 yards of rushing.  With that, Gilbert has tallied 5 consecutive games with 100+ rushing yards.

With 5:06 left in the second quarter, Ball State finished a 49 yard drive with a 39 yard field goal off the foot of Morgan Hagee.  The Cardinals have cut the Broncos lead to 21-10.

The Broncos capped off a 7 play, 78-yard drive with a 35 yard touchdown strike from Zach Terrell to Corey Davis.  Davis has two touchdowns and 132 yards of receiving thus far.  With 2:40 left in the first half, Western Michigan leads Ball State 28-10.

At halftime, Western Michigan leads Ball State 28-10.  For Western Michigan, Zach Terrell has 194 yards passing; 132 of which have gone to Corey Davis.  Ball State has shut down the Western Michigan running attack.  The Broncos have managed only 44 yards of rushing in the first half.  Coming into the game, Western Michigan was leading the MAC, averaging 252.8 yards of rushing per game.  On the other hand, Ball State has ran for 213 yards on 27 attempts.  Coming into the game, Ball State has been averaging 226.6 yards per game on the ground.  Jack Milas has thrown for 142 yards.  No Ball State wide receiver has more than 33 yards.  KeVonn Mabon and Corey Lacanaria are tied for the team lead with 33 yards a piece.

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half for Western Michigan, Corey Davis caught his 3rd touchdown of the day.  This 62-yard grab gives him 47 career touchdown receptions which ties the Mid-American Conference record.  Western Michigan extends their lead to 25 points.  35-10

The Broncos continue to dominate Ball State capping off a 96-yard drive with 2 yard touchdown by Jarvion Franklin.  Even with the 32 point lead, I don't expect that Western Michigan will let their foot off of the gas.  The Broncos have a chance to make a statement and catch the attention of the College Football Playoff committee and they are looking to move up in the rankings.

Ball State tacks on 3 more points to make this a 42-13 game.  The 42 yard field goal was set up by a 47 yard quarterback keeper by Jack Milas.  

At the end of the third quarter, Western Michigan WR Corey Davis has 9 receptions, 3 TD, and 238 yards of receiving.  

Western Michigan just used 17 plays to go 91 yards down the field.  The drive was finished off with a 23-yard field goal off the leg of Butch Hampton.  The drive burned up 9:08 off of the game clock.  With 10:24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Western Michigan leads Ball State 45-13.

The Broncos continue to score adding 7 more points off a touchdown run by Fabian Johnson.  Tom Flacco, the younger brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, ran for 55 yards on his first play under center.  The Broncos now have a 52-13 lead over the Cardinals.

Ball State QB Jack Milas found Damon Hazelton Jr. in the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds remaining in the game.

The final score from Muncie: #17 Western Michigan 52, Ball State 20.  Western Michigan improves to 9-0, which is the best start in school history.  Ball State falls to 4-5 on the season.

-Jon Opiela, @jonopiela24