MUNCIE, Ind. — John Paddock passed for 403 yards, Carson Steele's third rushing touchdown was the go-ahead score in the second overtime and Ball State defeated Northern Illinois 44-38 on Saturday after trailing by 17 points at the half.
Ball State's win overshadowed a 230-yard, three-touchdown rushing performance by Harrison Waylee of Northern Illinois.
After Steele's short touchdown in the second overtime, a sack by Ball State's Cole Pearce left NIU facing fourth-and-19 from the 34-yard line then Ethan Hampton's fourth-down pass was broken up by Tyler Potts.
Paddock completed 40 of 58 passes and threw for three touchdowns. Jayshon Jackson had 10 receptions for 116 yards. Tanner Koziol had two TD catches, including a 6-yarder with 36 second left in regulation as the Cardinals scored 10 points in 3 1/2 minutes to force overtime.
As much as Ball State (2-3, 1-1 Mid-American) went to the air, Northern Illinois (1-4, 0-1) kept to the ground. The Huskies had 57 rushes for 332 yards.
Both teams missed field goals in the first overtime and Ball State failed on a two-point attempt following Steele's go-ahead touchdown.
The Cardinals won the Battle for the Bronze Stalk. The trophy has been awarded to the winner of this matchup since 2008.