BLOOMINGTON -- What do you do when you're Ball State coach Pete Lembo and the sure victory becomes a certain defeat? When the odds are long and the distance is great and the prospects of a Ball State miracle are as likely as a third straight victory over a Big Ten opponent.
You focus, fight and, improbably, celebrate.
Steven Schott's 43-yard game winning field goal as time expired propelled Ball State to a 41-39 victory. It was the Cardinals' third straight victory over Indiana, and the second in two years.
It came after they had blown a 13-point lead in the last four minutes, making a series of secondary mistakes that would have broken a lesser team.
Ball State was on its own 31-yard line with 49 seconds left before driving Schott into field goal range. He'd earlier made a 51-yarder, then delivered his second game-winner of his career. The first came last year with a 44-yarder against Eastern Michigan.
“Ball State did a nice job, as they did last year,” IU coach Kevin Wilson said. “They have a nice club and Pete does a good job. They play well against us because they know it's a big game for them. It's a big game for us. Our guys were ready.“
Youth was a factor with Ball State mixing in transfers with freshmen and sophomores. It made for some drama.
Ball State (2-1) built a 14-3 lead, fell behind 17-14 and then 25-24, pushed ahead 38-25 only to have to rally in the final seconds.
“We have some young guys out there,” Lembo said. “I wish I could tell you we could line up with seven or eight seniors, but that's not what we have right now. We have freshmen and sophomores and guys who haven't been in the program a long time. We just have to be patient.”
Veteran quarterback Keith Wenning showcased that patience. He was 26-for-44 for 222 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He hit clutch passes of 14, 12 and 18 yards to put Ball State in position to kick the winning field goal.
“I'm very proud of Keith,” Lembo said. “He works so hard at it. If he has any fault, he is hard on himself. He certainly moved our offense up and down the field.”
Ball State entered the game as one of the nation's top rushing teams. It totaled a season-low 206 yards (56 below its season average) on 44 carries. Jahwan Edwards led with 78 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Jamill Smith added 49 yards. He also caught a career-high nine passes for 63 yards and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Wenning.
It was Wenning's first career touchdown catch. It was the first career scoring pass for Smith, a former high school quarterback.
Ball State totaled three sacks. Jonathan Newsome and Kenneth Lee had one each. Nick Miles and Nathan Ollie had half a sack each.