MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Ball State reached the Mid-American Conference championship game with a 30-27 victory over Western Michigan that ended with a wild series of laterals, the Cardinals prematurely rushing the field and a potential winning touchdown that was wiped out by penalty.
Ball State (5-1) will attempt to slow down Jaret Patterson and No. 24 Buffalo for the MAC championship on Friday in its first title game appearances since 2008.
Jack Knight kicked a 22-yard field goal with 29 seconds left, to cap a 17-point, fourth-quarter run that gave Ball State the lead.
Then Western Michigan (4-2) tried to pull off a miracle from deep in its own territory. The Broncos pitched the ball around at the clock struck 0:00 and for a moment it looked as if Ball State jumped on a fumble.
The Cardinals rushed the field to celebrate, but it wasn't over yet. The play continued through dozens of players milling around and Western Michigan's Skyy Moore broke away for a touchdown.
Flags had flown and the play was called back because one of the at least seven laterals were ruled to be forward.
Drew Plitt threw for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for Ball State. He connected with Yo’Heinz Tyler from 13-yards out and Justin Hall scored from 55 yards on the first play of the Cardinals' next possession.
Ball State went on a 10-play, 41-yard drive to take 2:17 off the clock and set up Knight's go-ahead kick.
Western Michigan led 20-13 at halftime and went up by 14 early in the third quarter on La’Darius Jefferson's 1-yard run.
Plitt finished 22 for 33 for 249 yards and three touchdowns. Hall had 10 catches for 175 yards and two scores.
Jefferson carried it 25 times for 159 yards and a score for WMU.
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