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Ball St. downs Miami, stays unbeaten

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Ball State quarterback Nate Davis looks to pass during the first half of his team's win over Miami of Ohio. The Cardinals are 10-0.

Ball State quarterback Nate Davis looks to pass during the first half of his team’s win over Miami of Ohio. The Cardinals are 10-0.

Melanie Maxwell, Associated Press

OXFORD, Ohio — For the first time in its history, Ball State is a perfect 10.

Nate Davis threw for a touchdown and ran for another in a quick-strike offense, and the 14th-ranked Cardinals stayed unbeaten by wearing down the Miami RedHawks for a 31-16 victory Tuesday night.

Ball State improved to 10-0 for the first time, with six of the wins in the Mid-American Conference. The Cardinals matched their school record for victories — they went 10-1 in 1978. Their only perfect season came in 1949, when they won all eight games.

Miami (2-8, 1-5) hasn't beaten a ranked team since Nov. 4, 2003, when Ben Roethlisberger led the RedHawks to an upset of Bowling Green.

A game that appeared to be a mismatch statistically stayed close until the second half, when Ball State pulled away.

McQuale Lewis had two 1-yard touchdowns in the second half and finished with 165 yards, one shy of his career high. He caught two passes for 51 yards.

The Cardinals lead the conference in offense and defense. With their exquisite balance, they've won every game by double digits. Nobody has been able to keep up as the points pile up.

Add Miami to the list.

The RedHawks pulled off a goal-line stand on Ball State's opening possession and held the Cardinals scoreless in the first quarter for only the second time this season. Miami then put together an 18-play drive that lasted 9:17 and set up Nathan Parseghian's 39-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

It didn't last long. Two minutes later, the Cardinals went ahead to stay.

Davis' 17-yard touchdown pass to Darius Hill finished a blink-of-the-eye drive that covered 54 yards. Davis finished 17-of-24 for 289 yards, with only one glaring mistake. He forced a pass that Joey Hudson intercepted at the 8-yard line in the third quarter, preventing the game from getting more lopsided.

Davis has thrown a touchdown pass in 26 of his last 27 games. He has thrown only six interceptions all season.

Another measure of the Cardinals' smoothness: For the third straight game, they didn't draw a penalty.

Miami's strategy was to hold onto the ball behind junior quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh, who lost his job earlier in the season but was starting again because of Clay Belton's shoulder injury. Raudabaugh completed his first 10 throws and later had a 49-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens.

Raudabaugh finished 25-of-42 for 254 yards. Fans started filtering out of the stadium when Armand Robinson dropped Raudabaugh's fourth-down pass in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter.