First half deficit too much for Ball State to overcome in Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl loss to UCF

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Ball State entered the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl with big dreams of winning a bowl game for the first time in school history.  With the return of quarterback Keith Wenning, the Cardinal fans who made the trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, were optimistic it could be a special night.

Instead, Central Florida scored the first 13 points of the game, and a key sequence late in the second quarter likely sealed the Cardinals fate.  With Central Florida leading 21-7, a Ball State drive stalled inside the UCF 10-yard line.  When Wenning was sacked on 3rd and goal from the UCF 7, it gave a little bit of extra distance for normally reliable kicker Stephen Schott to deal with.  Schott missed a 35-yard field goal, and UCF took advantage, driving 80-yards with under a minute to play to take a 28-7 lead at halftime.

Ball State was in prime position to start the third quarter with the ball, trailing by only one touchdown.  In stead, they faced a three-score deficit and fumbled on their first offensive play of the third quarter.  The Knights cruised the remainder of the second half to a 38-17 victory.

Wenning looked to have re-injured his surgically repaired ankle in the second half but did return to the field and would add a fourth quarter touchdown pass to Willie Snead.  For the game, Wenning finished 22 of 34 for 218 yards and two touchdowns.

For more insight and analysis from UCF’s victory over Ball State check out the coverage from our partners at the  Orlando Sentinel.,0,247837.story