Indiana edges Ball State 24-23

Sept. 9, 2006

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) -- Third-string quarterback Kellen Lewis rallied Indiana for two-second half touchdowns and Austin Starr hit a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give the Hoosiers a 24-23 victory over Ball State on Saturday night.

Graeme McFarland started in place of the injured Blake Powers, but was pulled after just six plays. Lewis took advantage of his first college chance.

He helped the Hoosiers erase a 17-0 first half deficit and finished 15-of-28 for 228 yards with two TDs -- one rushing, one passing. It's the first time since 1904-06 that Indiana has started 2-0 three consecutive years.

Joey Lynch threw three touchdown passes in the first half, but it was a missed extra point that cost the Cardinals their first win against a Big Ten team. The Cardinals (1-1) are 0-15 against the Big Ten. Lynch, whose father, Bill, and brother, Billy, both are assistants at Indiana, finished 15-of-24 for 246 yards with an interception.

The Cardinals jumped in front quickly when Lynch threw TD passes on the Ball State's first possessions. After a 23-yard punt, Ball State's Brian Jackson hit a 52-yard field goal to make it 17-0 midway through the second quarter.

Then Marcus Thigpen got the comeback started. He took the ensuing kickoff at the goal line and sprinting down the right side of the field to make it 17-7 for a record-tying 100-yard TD return.

Ball State closed the half with Lynch's 41-yard TD pass to Darius Hill, but Jackson missed the extra point wide right -- a mistake that proved the difference.

Lewis finally got Indiana righted in the second half. He threw a 12-yard TD pass to James Hardy on the opening possession, then scored on a 23-yard run midway through the third quarter to get the Hoosiers within 23-21.



After Lewis hooked up with Andrew Means on a 32-yard pass, early in the fourth, Cardinals safety Marcus McClure drew a personal foul. The pass-and-penalty led to Starr's winning 35-yard field goal.