Week 1 Offensive Player of the Game: Justin Hall

BY DONNIE HARMON | Ball State Sports Link

Heading into the 2020 season, expectations were sky-high for Senior wide receiver Justin Hall.

The reigning First Team All Mid-American Conference selection and current NCAA career receptions leader found a way to surpass those expectations in a career night in Oxford, as he set a new personal best for receiving yards (124) in a game in a 38-31 loss against Miami (OH).

Hall, who has caught a pass in every game of his career, extended his FBS-leading receptions streak to 37 straight games. He leads all active FBS players with 212 career receptions.

Hall got involved early in the Cardinals offense, as he capped off the second offensive drive for Ball State with an 11-yard score on a jet sweep, plowing through RedHawks safety Sterling Weatherford en route to the end zone.

The scoring would not stop there for Hall. On a third-and-6 in the second quarter, Hall got the beat on the Miami secondary and quarterback Drew Plitt connected with him in stride for a 66-yard score down the sideline, the longest play of Hall’s career and also the longest for Ball State since 2018.

Even when he did not have the ball in his hands, Hall’s presence affected the game. One of the more noticeable instances of this came in the second quarter, when a fake screen to Hall forced the defense to bite hard, opening up a receiver for Plitt to hit for the first down.

Hall added one reception at the end of the first half, and two more in the second half, including a massive 31 yard pickup with two minutes left to put Ball State within range of the game-tying field goal.

Despite not winning the game in the end, it was a remarkable performance for Hall, who finished with four receptions for a career best 124 yards and a score, to go along with 17 yards on the ground and a touchdown. 

With this performance, he now sits at eighth on the Ball State career receiving yards leaderboard, surpassing Brian Oliver and Briggs Orsbon.

Hall will look to continue the hot start to his 2020 campaign as the Cardinals look to rebound at home next week against Eastern Michigan.

Author: Donnie Harmon