Our guess is that this fake punt play is a one-and-done for Arkansas State.
In the second quarter of the Red Wolves' loss to Miami on Saturday, Arkansas State went for a fake punt. Not only did the play not get the desired result, but Arkansas State's Booker Mays pretended to die in an attempt to fake out the defender in front of him.
It did not work. However, we're not sure what "works" would mean in this context. Make the defender yell to his teammates for help? Hope all 11 Miami players saw it and stopped playing? Make us all laugh uproariously after the play happens? (If it's the final option, yes, it did work.)
It was a takeoff from Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson's time at North Carolina.
First, it was designed, not improvised. Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson said the Red Wolves practiced the play all week, and Mays got more and more convincing with his collapse as the week went on. Second, it was not only designed, but inspired. Anderson was on the North Carolina staff last year when the team decided to pull a prank on quarterback Bryn Renner. That prank, known as the "Fainting Goat," in which all 22 players except Renner collapsed immediately after a snap during practice, has commanded more than a million hits on youtube.com. So here is the story of Saturday's adaptation:
"Because of the formation we were in for that fake punt, Booker was covered up and couldn't go downfield, or it would be a penalty," Anderson told College Football 24/7. "So we said, 'What do we want to do with him? Do we want to bubble him or peel him out?' Someone said let's just let him be a fainting goat. I loved it, so we just put that in. His job on that play was basically to not get a penalty by going downfield, because the fake was on the backside of the play. These kids have had five head coaches in five years, so we try to let them have fun."
Mays' role wasn't integral to the outcome of the play, though it was by far the most entertaining part of it unless you're a Miami fan. Arkansas State punter Luke Ferguson tossed a, uh, vastly underthrown pass into double coverage. It was intercepted.
After Mays got up, he then got hit by a Miami defender blocking for the interception return. That was likely not part of the play's plan either.
When ASU tried the fake, the score was 20-7. The turnover led to a Miami touchdown and a 27-7 lead. The Hurricanes eventually won 41-20. We'll be stunned if this is ever tried again, though opposing special teams coaches on Arkansas State's future schedule must be prepared.
For more Arkansas State news, visit RedWolfReport.com.
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