Toledo's eight-game winning streak came to a bitter end Tuesday night, falling to Ball State 34-27 in heartbreaking fashion.
The game was tied at 27-27 with less than two minutes remaining, but Ball State changed that with a Jahwan Edwards touchdown from 15-yards out. Toledo received the ball one final time, failing to earn a first down on four tries and effectively ending the game.
Ball State jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter with Keith Wenning throwing two touchdowns, one to Jamill Smith and one to Connor Ryan, to give the Cardinals a 14-0 lead. Rockets quarterback Terrance Owens was able to hit Bernard Reedy for a 24-yard touchdown with 1:30 left in the first quarter though, keeping his team in the game.
Toledo rebounded well in the second quarter. Jeremiah Detmer kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 14-10 less than three minutes into the second frame, giving his team more confidence. After Steven Schott answered with a field goal of his own for Ball State, Cassius McDowell was able to find the end zone for the Rockets, putting the halftime score at 17-17.
The second half was really similar to the first half in that Ball State somehow maintained control. It wasn't full-out dominance, but a few big plays here and there gave the Cardinals the slight advantage over their MAC opponents.
Wenning started the third quarter by hitting Smith for a second score, giving the Cardinals a 24-17 lead. Detmer answered with a field goal, but Toledo was on the rocks as soon as the fourth quarter started. Ball State did an excellent job of keeping momentum away from the ranked Rockets from start to finish.
David Fluellen's 16-yard touchdown gave Toledo the lead for the first time just four seconds into the fourth quarter, finally breathing life into the Rockets crowd. The ball-carriers' 12th touchdown of the year came at the perfect time, but Ball State didn't stop coming.
Schott's second field goal of the night tied the game at 27, all with less than 10 minutes left. Toledo had its chances to break that tie, but turned the ball over on downs with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Tuesday night's loss is tough to take for a team that was just beginning to enjoy its ranked status. The Rockets received 200 yards from star running back Fluellen, but it still wasn't enough to claim the crucial victory.
Wenning was a big reason for that. The signal-caller threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns, persevering through three interceptions. He received 105 yards of support for Edwards, including the running back's massive contributions on the game's decisive drive.
Toledo will attempt to rebound against 9-1 Northern Illinois next week, while Ball State tries to continue this momentum against Ohio.