BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana coach Kevin Wilson didn't quibble with the way his team played or the calls that went against him Saturday night -- only with the final result.
The Hoosiers battled back from an 11-point first half deficit behind their new starting quarterback and a 13-point deficit in the final five minutes of the game to retake the lead behind their new No. 2 quarterback and then failed to come up with the one stop they desperately needed to end this losing streak against the Cardinals.
Keith Wenning threw three touchdown passes, caught one himself and led a final drive that set up Steven Schott for a 42-yard goal as time expired, giving the Cardinals their third straight win over the Hoosiers, 41-39.
"I got a lot of respect for Ball State, but I got a lot of respect for this young football team. This is a good team, and a lot better team than most of you think with your little smirks out there, OK?" Wilson said. "This is a good team that's going to get a heck of a lot better every day, every second."
Few losses have come in such frustrating fashion for these Hoosiers (2-1), who had seemingly wrapped up the win when Nate Sudfeld threw a 2-yard TD pass to Shane Wynn with 49 seconds to go.
But Wenning completed passes of 14 yards and 12 yards before Willie Snead made an improbable 18-yard diving catch as he slid out of bounds with 1 second left on the clock, just moments after the officials had added 1 second to the game clock during Ball State's final timeout. A replay review confirmed the call on the field, to the dismay of Hoosiers fans and the delight of Cardinals fans.
Schott then made the 42-yarder to win it.
Afterward, the Hoosiers barely mentioned the controversial finish and instead blamed themselves for the one thing they didn't get done -- stopping Ball State on that one play.
"I was rushing the quarterback, the play happened, they reviewed it, it was a catch," Hoosiers defensive tackle Adam Replogle said. "So, they reviewed it, there's nothing you can do about it. The catch was a catch, we just had to come out the next play and get the field goal."
The Cardinals (2-1) are now 3-49 all-time against BCS conference schools. All three wins have come over the Hoosiers (2-1) in the past four years, two of those in Bloomington. The other was at Lucas Oil Stadium.
This one may not have happened without Wenning.
The junior quarterback was 26 of 44 for 222 yards with three touchdowns. He ran six times for 40 yards. He caught his first college pass, a 12-yard TD reception from receiver Jamill Smith, to put Ball State back in front in the third quarter, and he closed it out by moving the Cardinals 44 yards in the final 49 seconds.