By: Donnie Harmon
Ball State Sports Link
Ball State returned home to Scheumann Stadium Saturday afternoon with hopes of returning to the win column, as it faced the Toledo Rockets in their MAC conference opener.
In a game that was hard fought until the end, Ball State ended up falling 22-12. While the outcome was not what the Cardinals were looking for, it was still an exciting game thanks to the performance by senior wide receiver Justin Hall, who led the team in receiving and rushing yards, as he finished with 7 receptions for 97 yards to go with 5 carries for 64 yards, in a performance that saw him become Ball State’s all time leading receiver.
After an unusually quiet performance against Wyoming, Hall looked determined early to leave an impression in the game, as he hauled in a 35 yard reception on the opening drive, the longest play of the game for Ball State, which aided an opening drive that set up a field goal.
Hall was a consistent first down threat throughout the game, as he continually moved the chains and helped extend drives for the Cardinals frequently, gaining seven first downs in the game. He was able to find a consistent balance between being a quick-route, volume receiver, while also making big plays downfield, as he had 12 touches in the game, and made three plays of 30 plus yards.
The biggest moment of the game came in the second quarter. With about six minutes left before the break, Hall caught a screen pass and used a couple of excellent outside blocks to get down the sideline for a 30 yard gain. That reception made him the new career receiving yards leader at Ball State, as he surpassed the previous record of 3,030 that was set by Dante Ridgeway in 2004.
In a game where Hall cemented his legacy in Muncie even more, he delivered a vintage performance, displaying his versatility and ability to make an impact in different facets of the game. While he led the team in receiving, he also accomplished a rare feat for a wide receiver and led the Cardinals in rushing as well, as he had 5 carries for 64 yards, including a gain of 30.
“It means a lot, but I wouldn’t be able to get that accomplishment without my teammates,” Hall said following the game. “(I’m) truly blessed to have them as teammates.”
Hall will look to add to his 3,061 career receiving yards next Saturday when the Cardinals face off against the Black Knights of Army.