Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MUNCIE, Ind. – Central Michigan football coach John Bonamego said his team re-committed itself to the run this week in practice.
It paid off.
The Chippewas rushed for a season-high 256 yards in dominating Ball State, 56-9, to spoil the Cardinals’ homecoming at Scheumann Stadium on Saturday.
The win lifted the Chippewas to 4-4, 2-2 in the Mid-American Conference and it came one week after a 30-10 loss at home to Toledo, during which CMU was held to a season-low 62 yards on the ground. Ball State is 2-5, 0-3.
Jonathan Ward ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries to lead the CMU ground game, which was perfectly complemented by an efficient aerial attack triggered by quarterback Shane Morris.
Morris threw for 199 yards and four touchdowns on 16-of-21 passing. Corey Willis was his top target, finishing with five receptions – three of them for a career-high three touchdowns – for 98 yards.
The CMU defense recorded eight sacks, four of them by senior defensive end Joe Ostman and two each by Michael Danna and Nate Brisson-Fast.
The Chippewas led 28-6 at halftime, then turned it into a rout in the second half, highlighted by a blocked punt by Jerrod Davis which set up a touchdown and freshman Alonzo McCoy’s fumble return for a score.
All of Ball State’s points came via field goals. It marked the first time CMU had held an opponent without a touchdown since a 49-3 victory over Presbyterian in the 2016 season opener. It was the first time the Chippewas have held a MAC opponent out of the end zone since a 37-0 win over UMass on Nov. 23, 2013, a stretch of 29 games.
It was CMU’s highest point output since a 56-28 victory over Toledo on Nov. 11, 2009.
The Chippewas play at rival Western Michigan in a MAC game on Wednesday, Nov. 1. The Broncos defeated Eastern Michigan, 20-17, in overtime on Saturday to improve to 5-3, 3-1.