In the first two games this season, the second quarter was a great time for opponents to make up ground against Missouri.
Arkansas State and Troy combined to outscore Missouri 27-14 in the second with the Tigers giving up the lead against Troy that they would not get back. The Trojans scored 17 of their 24 points in the second quarter on Sept. 9 in the Tigers only loss of the season.
Missouri solved that problem Saturday, scoring 28 points on 167 yards of offense in the second quarter. The Tigers allowed Ball State one first down, a feat they repeated in the third.
The Tigers started the second with good field position after tailback Marcus Woods had a 30-yard run on the second to last play of the quarter that looked like a sure touchdown before a diving Justin Beriault, the Cardinals safety, tripped him on the three-yard line.
“My legs got a little bit tired on that,” Woods said. “I have to pick my knees up a little bit more and run that out and I’ll be fine.”
Tailback Damien Nash benefited from Woods’ run with a two-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, making it 10-0.
Missouri put together its longest scoring drive of the game with a 91-yard effort on its next possession. Quarterback Brad Smith capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run that worked because of a stiff arm to the helmet of cornerback Randall Means.
“(The stiff arm) works pretty good when you need a little separation,” Smith said.
After punting on their next possession, the Tigers scored two touchdowns within 17 seconds to finish the scoring in the second.
Nash got his second touchdown on a passing play in which he came out of the backfield on the left side while Smith rolled to his right with every Cardinals defender pursuing.
“I wasn’t very surprised (to be that open),” Nash said. “We ran the fakes where they can just flow to the ball and they flowed to the ball and we threw it back.”
Things got worse for the Cardinals on the first play from scrimmage after Nash’s touchdown when quarterback Joey Lynch fumbled the snap, which was then kicked to the right side of the field where Tiger cornerback Marcus King fell on it.
Missouri then had its second straight one-play drive, with Smith throwing a pass to Sean Coffey who caught the ball over his shoulder.
CARDINALS’ BIG LEG:Ball State punter Reggie Hodges was the lone standout for the Cardinals, kicking them out of their own territory many times and sending Missouri punt returner Thomson Omboga running backward to receive his punts.
Hodges kicked the ball 10 times, averaging 50.9 yards and kicking his longest 65 yards. Ball State’s coverage could not keep up with the long kicks, though, and Omboga finished with 127 yards on 6 returns with a long of 49 yards.
FRESHMAN IMPACT:Wide receiver William Franklin, a true freshman, played the most he has this season.
Franklin caught a 35-yard completion for a first down and scored the first touchdown of his career on a 41-yard touchdown pass.