The football team scored its first points in the first quarter since the season opener against Rhode Island when senior kicker A.J. Principe converted a 49-yard field goal on Friday night.
Unfortunately, they would be the only points that the Bulls would score all night.
Ball State (4-7, 3-4 Mid-American Conference) avenged its loss in the 2008 MAC Championship game with a 20-3 win at UB Stadium, dominating the Bulls (2-8, 1-5 MAC) in every facet of the game.
"Give Ball State credit. They outplayed us tonight," said head coach Jeff Quinn. "[We're] just not playing well enough to win a football game, and it obviously bothers me and our entire football program to be in this position."
Freshman quarterback Alex Zordich left the game in the first quarter after sustaining a rib injury. It was reported after the game that he will miss the remainder of the season due to the injury.
The injury to Zordich forced sophomore quarterback Jerry Davis into the game for the first time in three weeks. He struggled throughout and helped remind Bulls fans why he was replaced earlier in the year.
Davis finished the game completing five of his 16 pass attempts for 39 yards, two interceptions, and one big fumble at the beginning of the second half. Davis has now thrown 14 interceptions on the season, which is only two behind the NCAA leader.
"It's very frustrating," Davis said. "It can't get any worse. You run out of words, because you try your best after all the hard work in the summer… You lose and it's like, all that hard work for what? It hurts a lot."
Before the last drive of the game for the Bulls, Ball State's defensive backs caught three passes from Buffalo quarterbacks, which equaled the number caught by Bulls receivers.
After the Bulls went up 3-0 on the Principe field goal, the Cardinals quickly responded on the first play of the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Keith Wenning hit freshman wide receiver Otis Brown for a 32-yard touchdown strike. The touchdown pass gave Ball State a 7-3 lead; they would extend the lead to 10-3 before halftime.
On the first play of the second half, Davis scrambled and was cleanly stripped by Cardinals junior safety Sean Baker. Baker ran the ball all the way back for a touchdown, giving the Cardinals a 17-3 lead.
Two long drives by the Cardinals ended all hope for the Bulls; one of the drives lasted seven-and-a-half minutes, and the other lasted eight minutes. The offense barely saw the field for the rest of the game.
"It was tough, not being able to get off the field, not being able to get the offense the ball," said senior safety Davonte Shannon. "We've got to make plays. That's all it comes down to."
Shannon finished the game with 15 tackles, leaving him 17 shy of tying the school record of 455 in a career.
When asked who would start at quarterback next game, Quinn was unsure.
"It's hard to say [who will start]. I can't answer that right now," Quinn said. "I need a chance to really evaluate… I'm not going to say one way or another, but I'm going to take a minute to look at what gives us our best chance to be successful."
Senior cornerback Josh Thomas tallied 10 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and one and a half tackles for loss.
Ball State's Baker was a menace to the Bulls offense all game, recording two interceptions and a forced fumble.
The Bulls have two more games remaining in what has been a disappointing season, and Quinn is focused on finishing the season on a high note.
"I want to win a football game, and that's what I want, and that's what this team needs," Quinn said. "I'm going to find whatever it takes to get this team to understand what it's going to take."
Next up for the Bulls will be their final home game on Saturday against Eastern Michigan (1-8, 1-4 MAC) at 2 p.m. at UB Stadium.