BY DONNIE HARMON | Ball State Sports Link
It was a career night for Caleb Huntley, as the senior workhorse running back from Atlanta carried the rock 34 times for a career high 204 yards, while also carrying Ball State to a 38-31 victory in its home opener against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
The senior has scored multiple touchdowns in four straight games dating back to last season. He has 10 touchdowns during that stretch (five already this season through two games). He has scored at least one touchdown in six straight games.
While the numbers for Huntley are eye popping, his performance was a display of hard-nosed, meat and potatoes football.
Oftentimes dominant running back performances are boosted by a couple of big plays, but Huntley wore down the Eagles defense with consistent chunk yardage — constantly fighting for the extra yards — and keeping the chains moving throughout.
Huntley finished the game with an impressive 11 rushes for first downs.
Not only did Huntley have a nose for the first down marker, but the end zone as well, as he finished with three touchdowns. The first of these scores came on the Cardinals’ second offensive drive, as he scampered in from 7 yards out.
At the half Huntley already had a full night’s workload, with 16 carries for 82 yards and a score. It looked as if the game might be decided by who would tire first: Huntley or the Eastern Michigan defense.
Huntley did not back down.
The second score of the night came in the 3rd quarter, as he used every bit of his 5-foot-10, 230-pound frame to power it in on a 13-yard run up the gut, impressively maintaining his balance and breaking away from multiple would be tacklers on his way for six.
After a crucial fourth down stop by the Ball State defense, Huntley got a full head of steam going and went for 21 yards, his longest run of the night.
This play moved the team into good field goal position, and set up the kick from Jack Knight to put the Cardinals up by seven with five minutes left in the contest.
Despite already having put up fantastic numbers, the best was yet to come for the MAC’s top running back.
After Eastern Michigan answered to tie up the game, Huntley spearheaded a final drive for the ages, as he ate up the clock carrying the ball 7 times for 59 yards, including the game-winning score with 10 seconds left.
Finishing the game with 34 carries for 204 yards (82 yards in the 4th) and three touchdowns, Huntley will look to keep his momentum going Wednesday as Ball State plays Northern Illinois at Scheumann Stadium.
Sports Link GameDay LIVE starts at 6p, followed the by the game on ESPNews and SL Digital.