You cannot make this stuff up.
A Ball State team that muffed the opening kickoff a year ago against South Florida came back around and won in stunning fashion Saturday.
Is it a top five victory in school history? Top three?
Ball State has defeated a BCS school not named Indiana, and who would have thought it would be a team that defeated Notre Dame a year earlier. Not a team named Duke or Vanderbilt.
Fact: Two Florida players on Ball State’s roster won the game. Receiver Willie Snead was too short at 5’11” to be a Bull I guess. So was Corner Eric Patterson at 5’10” even though he clinched the game with his interception. Whoops.
Fact: Keith Wenning was a one star recruit because he developed too late in high school. All the BCS schools passed him by except for … Stan Parrish. Yes we need to give a little credit here. At least something good came out of his two seasons. Meanwhile BCS teams all over the country are struggling at quarterback. Whoops.
Fact: The quickest guy on the field was receiver Jamill Smith, a Muncie native who was too small for a scholarship just about anywhere. He racked up 162 all-purpose-yards against a BCS team that should have been loaded with freak athletes. Whoops.
Fact: Offensive lineman Kitt O’Brien, Dan Manick, and Cameron Lowry were also one star recruits. Yet they were the ones pushing around South Florida like a boss. There were some holding calls but who cares? The running backs had holes all day and Wenning was never in danger. The highly recruited South Florida boys gave up 6.1 yards per carry to running back Jahwan Edwards. Another Cardinal who did not have any scholarship offers from other FBS schools. Whoops.
Fact: South Florida is coached by Lou Holtz’s son but was thoroughly outcoached by some guy who at FCS Elon two years ago. Whoops.
Fact: Four out of the five MAC West teams took it to a BCS school Saturday (EMU is disowned untill its first win). All of them dwarf the MAC in terms of resources, boosters, budgets, facilities, and television exposure but they all lost to what should have been inferior opponents. Whoops.
This is my favorite part of college sports. Seeing underdogs prove that they we never underdogs at all.
Ball State was the underdog, but it proved that it should have been the favorite at home.
I asked a friend how this was happening. He said to “Just enjoy it. Don’t think about it.”
He was right. For those of us who watch ESPN at will we fool ourselves into believing schools with prestigious conference affiliations are superior. It does not matter if you are BCS or MAC. All that mattered Saturday is your Cardinals are 3-1 with a bowl invitation about to be mailed from the UPS Store.
Even if Ball State gets a bowl or wins the MAC championship, it might not top the feeling of the South Florida win.
This was Ball State winning beating a big name team in Scheumann Stadium. On a night where over 16,000 fans actually showed up.
Willie Snead’s touchdown catch is something we will be talking about for a long time. It was Ball State football’s version of Jimmy Chitwood knocking down a jumper to win State.
Despite the cold temperatures, fans were sticking around out on the field. I witness two kids no more than 10 each trying to recreate Snead’s catch in the left corner of the north end zone. When was the last time kids in Muncie wanted to recreate a Ball State football play? When was the last time kids in Muncie cared about Ball State football? 2008? Never?
Something special is brewing in Muncie with this team and program. Instead of analyzing it, it might be time to just sit back and enjoy it.
No BCS team can just waltz into the cornfields of East Central Indiana and expect a win.
It is pretty enjoyable to say that.
Nathan Pace is a 2012 Ball State graduate and writes for the New Castle Courier-Times.