The GoDaddy Bowl between Arkansas State and Ball State may not be a marquee matchup like Monday night’s BCS National Championship is sure to be, but the game did feature one of the more creative play calls of the season.
With the first half winding down, Arkansas State trailed Ball State 10-3, but were looking to tie the score going into half time. The Red Wolves moved the ball to midfield and reached into its bag of tricks on the third play of the drive.
In a play that is called “hide the midget” according to the broadcast, the Red Wolves lined up in an unusual packed-in formation with the offensive line standing tall and 5-foot-10 receiver R.J. Fleming squatting down behind the line. Another receiver, lined-up wide, came in motion and quarterback Adam Kennedy faked the handoff to the motioning receiver, and sneakily handed the ball to Fleming.
Fleming took the handoff around the left side and up the sideline 27 yards down to the Ball State 24-yard line. The trick play eventually led to a one-yard touchdown run by Sirgregory Thornton on fourth and one six plays later to tie the game at 10 going into halftime.
Arkansas State kept up the momentum into the second half with two Brian Davis field goals on the first two drives of the third quarter to take a 16-10 lead. That set the stage for a wild fourth quarter.
Ball State started the final quarter off with a 37-yard Scott Secor field goal to close the gap to 16-13. On BSU's next drive, quarterback Keith Wenning was intercepted by Red Wolves linebacker Qushaun Lee. Lee returned the ball to the Ball State eight-yard line. The Red Wolves looked to take a two-score lead, but ASU's Fredi Knighten -- filling in for the injured Kennedy -- was picked off in the end zone to give the ball back to the Cardinals.
The Cardinals responded with a 16-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off with a Jahwan Edwards one-yard touchdown run to take a 20-16 lead with 1:33 to go.
After a short kickoff gave Arkansas State great field position at their own 41-yard line, the Red Wolves responded quickly. In just five plays, Knighten led the offense down the field to retake the lead with a 13-yard strike to Allen Muse to retake a 23-20 lead with 33 seconds remaining.
Ball State regained possession at its own 36 and after two incomplete passes and Wenning hit wideout Willie Snead with two passes to advance to the ASU 36-yard line. On the second completion, as Snead ran out of bounds to stop the clock, cornerback Andrew Tryon hit Snead late out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty with two seconds to go.
All of a sudden, Ball State was in position for a 38-yard game-tying attempt, but Secor's kick was blocked to seal a 23-20 Arkansas State win -- the second straight GoDaddy Bowl win for the Red Wolves.
With the loss, Ball State still remains winless in its bowl game history.
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