Malik Dunner returned a kickoff for a 93-yard touchdown and Ball State scored 20 unanswered points in the second half for a 51-31 victory over UAB on Saturday.
Ball State (1-1) took its opening possession of the second half 65 yards in nine plays for James Gilbert's 1-yard TD plunge, extending its lead to 28-17. He added another short TD run early in the fourth.
UAB quarterback A.J. Erdely ran for his third TD late in the third to pull within 31-24, but Dunner returned the ensuing kickoff to start the Cardinals' scoring run.
Ball State's opening drive of the game went 12 plays and 65 yards, culminating with Dunner's 8-yard touchdown run. Riley Neal's 15-yard pass to Danny Pinter made it 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
UAB (1-1) answered with a pair of Erdely touchdown runs of 41 and 18 yards to take a 17-14 lead, but Ball State came right back as Caleb Huntley busted one up the middle for a 52-yard touchdown run and led 21-17 at intermission.
Erdely threw for 168 yards and added 77 yards on the ground.