Sophomore quarterback Nate Davis threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another as Ball State earned a share of the Mid-American West Division crown with a 27-21 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.
Davis went 23-of-35 for 326 yards in his fifth game of the season with 300 or more passing yards.
The Cardinals (7-5, 5-2) went ahead for good early in the second quarter when Davis tossed a 7-yard touchdown strike to tight end Darius Hill for a 10-7 lead. Davis scored on a one-yard run later in the quarter and added a 6-yard touchdown strike to running back Ray Winkler for a 24-14 lead with around 11 minutes remaining in regulation.
Cardinal kicker Ian McGarvey added field goals of 46 and 28 yards.
Northern Illinois sophomore quarterback Ryan Morris was 24-of-44 for 252 yards with touchdown strikes of 5 and 23 yards -- the second with 1:30 to play. Huskies tailback David Bryant added a 2-yard touchdown run in the opening half. But the Huskies were ineffective on the ground with 28 rushing attempts for -1 yards.
Despite the co-championship, the Cardinals won't appear next month's MAC title game. Central Michigan earned the title game berth thanks to a 58-38 victory over the Cardinals in early October.
Saturday's loss was the seventh in eight games for Northern Illinois (2-10, 1-6), which had 24 players miss multiple games with injuries, including 13 lost for the season.