Cortez Smith grabs 2 TDs as shorthanded Purdue beats Ball State

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Cortez Smith caught two touchdown passes, including a 76-yarder on a deflection, to help Purdue beat Ball State 24-13 on Saturday.

Smith caught five passes for a career-high 117 yards.

Robert Marve passed for 111 yards and two touchdowns, but he hurt his left leg and missed much of the second half. Rob Henry stepped in to pass for 89 yards and rush for 65 in Marve's place for the Boilermakers (2-1).

Keith Wenning completed just 11 of 21 passes for 89 yards and threw two interceptions for Ball State (1-2). Eric Williams ran for 62 yards.

It was Purdue's first game without top receiver Keith Smith, who is out for the season after suffering a knee injury the previous game against Western Illinois.

Ball State was coming off a loss to Liberty, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Purdue took its first possession of the game 79 yards on nine plays. Marve closed the drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass to O.J. Ross.

The Boilermakers put together another scoring drive on their next possession, and Marve hit Cortez Smith with a 9-yard TD pass to increase Purdue's lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter. Marve went 9-for-11 for 100 yards in the first 15 minutes.

After Purdue failed to convert on a fourth down near midfield late in the first half, Ball State moved to the Purdue 10-yard line before Ricardo Allen intercepted a pass by Wenning in the end zone to end the threat.

Marve injured his left leg on the failed fourth-down try. He returned to start the second half, but he threw an interception to Sean Baker on the first drive after his return. Ball State took advantage when MiQuale Lewis scored on a 1-yard run. Purdue's Kawann Short blocked the extra point, and the score remained 14-6.

Purdue coach Danny Hope said after the game that Marve "tweaked" his left knee. Marve told reporters he'll be fine for next week's game against Toledo.

Purdue caught a break early in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-17 from Purdue's 24, Henry looked for Antavian Edison near the sideline. The ball bounced off defender Jeffrey Garrett and fell into the hands of a streaking Cortez Smith. He outran everyone for a 76-yard touchdown that gave Purdue a 21-6 lead with 12:59 to play.

Jason Werner intercepted another pass by Wenning later in the quarter, setting up a field goal by Carson Wiggs with 6:36 to go.

Kelly Page's 10-yard touchdown pass to Connor Ryan with 4:59 remaining pulled the Cardinals to within 24-13.

Ball State's Ian McGarvey missed two field goals in the second quarter, and Purdue led 14-0 at halftime.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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