MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Drew Plitt threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score — in the first quarter — and Ball State became bowl eligible with a 20-3 victory over Buffalo on Tuesday night.
It's just the third time in program history that the Cardinals (6-6, 4-4 Mid-American Conference) have qualified for a bowl game in back-to-back seasons. Ball State and Buffalo met for the MAC championship last season — a game the Cardinals won 38-28.
Ball State set the tone early when Malcolm Lee picked off Matt Myers on the Bulls' first series, giving the Cardinals the ball on Buffalo's 42-yard line. Eleven plays later Plitt scored on a 1-yard run for a 7-0 lead. Buffalo's next possession also ended in disaster when Hassan Littles blocked a punt by Jackson Baltar and Brandon Berger recovered, giving Ball State a first-and-goal at the 6. Plitt connected with Jayshon Jackson for a 7-yard score on third down and the Cardinals never looked back.
Plitt completed 19 of 31 passes for 176 yards. Jackson finished with nine catches for 103 yards.
Myers was 18-of-39 passing for 188 yards with four interceptions for Buffalo (4-8, 2-6). He led the Bulls with 78 yards on 16 rushes.
Buffalo outgained the Cardinals 336 yards to 230, but couldn't overcome four turnovers.
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