First quarter dooms Huskies

By Dave Tuley

MUNCIE, Ind.—After two exciting finishes in a row, the situation looked similar when the NIU football team spotted the Ball State Cardinals 21 points in the first quarter Saturday.

But the deficit was too large to overcome as the Huskies lost 42-17 before 4,675 spectators at Ball State Stadium. The loss was the Huskies’ second consecutive setback and dropped their record to 3-4-1. Ball State is 3-5 and has won three of its last four games.

“We had dug a hole for us too deep at that time,” NIU head coach Jerry Pettibone said.

NIU almost got back in the game in the second quarter, narrowing the gap to 28-10, but BSU freshman tailback Bernie Parmalee broke an 82-yard run to set up the fifth Cardinal touchdown. Parmalee, who missed last week’s win over Central Michigan, rushed for 168 yards on 15 carries on the day with three touchdowns, tying a school record with the latter. He would have had a fourth touchdown if he would not have been tripped up by safety Kevin Cassidy on the longest play from scrimmage in Ball State history.

Parmalee, who took the handoff up the middle and broke to the outside, said, “It opened up real well and I read the block.”

Pettibone and BSU coach Paul Schudel both pointed to the run as a key play to keep the momentum from swinging to NIU’s side before halftime.

“What really hurt us was that long run right before the half,” Pettibone said of the play on third-and-6. “We were ready to call time out and get some points on the scoreboard before the half.”

“It was 82 yards—3 feet a crack,” BSU coach Paul Schudel said. “That’s what he’s capable of doing. He (Parmalee) joked that he was caught by the middle guard, and we kidded him a bit.”

The NIU offense—8th in rushing and 27th overall entering the game—was unable to get anything going in the first quarter as the Huskies only managed one first down on their first four drives. NIU also fumbled six times in the first half, although they did not lose one.

On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals scored touchdowns the first two times they touched the ball. The first score came on only the Cardinals’ second play as Wade Kosakowski completed a 19-yard pass to Deon Chester. It was Chester’s 125th career reception, setting another BSU record.

Kosakowski completed 13 of 19 passes for 174 yards Saturday after, like Parmalee, sitting out last week.

“The week done him a bit of good,” Schudel said. “He took what was there.”

On the next series Parmalee hit pay dirt on his first carry of the day from 14 yards out to put the Cardinals up 14-0.

Rodney Taylor scored both of NIU’s touchdown on runs of 11 and five yards. His first six-pointer came in the first half on an option pitch he took to the sidelines and cut up for the score.

“I was waiting for everyone to over-pursue,” Taylor said. “One guy had a hold of my foot, and I was hoping he would let go, and he did.”

John Ivanic added a 37-yard field goal on the Huskies’ next possession to pull them within 18 points.

Schudel denied that he was trying to run up the score late in the fourth quarter against the former Mid-American Conference members. The Cardinals went twice on fourth-down plays late in the game and brought first-string defense back in on the Huskies’ final drive.

“We’ve been maligned enough on defense,” he said. “I didn’t force the score down there. We just didn’t want to get scored upon. We’ve been hammered a lot this year, and the players have a lot of pride.”