In a game filled with offense that saw the two teams amass over 1,000 combined yards in total offense, Ball State's defense and special teams came up big when it counted to secure a Ball State victory.
Brandon Crawford, a 31-year-old former Marine playing for the Cardinals, blocked a Navy field goal as regulation expired to force the overtime.
Freshman kicker Jake Hogue finished it off with a 24-yard game winner in overtime, the first game winner of his collegiate and high school career.
"I knew this game was going to come down to special teams," Hogue says. "After we blocked the field goal, I just prepared myself mentally. I am not a real superstitious guy, so I just tried to stay calm and do everything right. I have confidence in what I do, and I was able to help the team win."
On the strength of the first 100-yard rushing game of MiQuale Lewis' career (161 yards), a blocked field goal by Brandon Crawford, an interception by B.J. Hill and a forced and a pair of recovered fumbles, Ball State put together one of the most historic wins in Ball State history.
Navy kicked a 25-yard field goal with 11:28 to play in the game to take a 24-21 lead, but Ball State's Jake Hogue responded with a 27-yard field goal of his own with 8:12 left to tie the game at 24-24. However, Navy's Eric Kettani managed a 71-yard touchdown run with 7:17 to play to give Navy the 31-24 advantage. Lewis capped a 9-play, 69-yard drive on 12-yard pass from Nate Davis to tie the game at 31-31 with 3:53 to play.
"Our offensive line did a great job," Lewis says. "They were aggressive and gave us a great lift tonight. They worked hard all week and it paid off. I have to thank them for what I was able to accomplish."
Navy started the day's scoring with an opening drive that covered 80 yards on 12 plays and gave the Midshipmen a 7-0 early first quarter lead. But Ball State's offense responded right back with a first possession drive that covered 75 yards on 13 plays and ended with Nate Davis connecting on a seven yard scoring pass to Darius Hill. The touchdown catch marked the second of the season for Hill and the 15th of his career. The 15 career touchdown receptions ties Hill for third on Ball State's all-time chart.
With the score tied at 7-7, Ball State scored on a Dante Love to Davis lateral pass, which Davis in turn passed back to Love, and went for a 50-yard scoring play officially as a Davis to Love completion. The score gave the Cardinals a 14-14 advantage with 12:32 remaining in the first half.
After the Cardinals defense stopped Navy on a fourth and three, the Midshipmen forced a Ball State punt, and Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada took the first play for an 80-yard TD run with 5:53 to play in the half to even the score at 14-14.
But once again, the Ball State offense responded and put together a 9-play, 80-yard drive that ended on a Davis five yard touchdown run to put the Cardinals back into the lead, 21-14, with 2:22 to play in the first half. The first half ended with Ball State leading 21-14 after B.J. Hill blocked the first field goal of his career on a 48-yard attempt by Navy.
Navy started the second half with a 5-play, 52-yard scoring drive on its first possession that ended on a 24-yard touchdown run by Kettani to tie the game, 21-21, with 11:32 to play.
Ball State rushed for 262 yards, while passing for 277 behind Davis' 19-of-33 performance.
"We talked all week about this being a team game," Ball State head coach Brady Hoke says. "We knew the offense had to score points, we knew the special teams would be a key. We gave up some big plays defensively, but we played well against this Navy offense."
The Cardinals will play at Nebraska on Saturday (Sept. 22).