DEKALB, Ill. (AP) - Quarterback Chandler Harnish threw a touchdown pass in his first appearance in nearly a month as Northern Illinois topped Ball State on Thursday.
The Huskies (7-3, 5-1 Mid-American West) won their fourth straight while the Cardinals (1-9, 1-5) dropped their sixth game by seven or fewer points.
Harnish had missed three games with a knee injury. He hit wide receiver Marcus Lewis on a 6-yard scoring play late in the third quarter for a 26-13 lead.
Ball State cut it to 26-20 on Tanner Justice's 29-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Ifft with 6:53 left in regulation.
The teams traded touchdowns on their respective first possessions. The Huskies added a safety and a six-yard Chad Spann touchdown for a 16-7 lead late in the first quarter.
A pair of second-quarter field goals by Ian McGarvey trimmed the deficit to 16-13. Huskie kicker Mike Salerno got one back with a 41-yard third-quarter field goal.