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Late TD, blocked field goal seal GoDaddy Bowl for ASU

By Troy Schulte

This article was published January 5, 2014 at 11:33 p.m.


Ball State University's Eric Patterson (5) nearly intercepts a pass in front of Arkansas State's Julian Jones during the first half GoDaddy Bowl on Sunday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

MOBILE, Ala. — Arkansas State was down a starting quarterback, and looked to be finished with less than two minutes remaining late Sunday night.

Neither mattered in the Red Wolves' wild third trip to southern Alabama in 12 months.

Fredi Knighten relieved Adam Kennedy and made up for what appeared to be a back-breaking interception when he fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to Allen Muse with 32 seconds left, then Scott Secor's 38-yard field goal was blocked as time expired to finally end a wild 23-20 victory over Ball State in Sunday's GoDaddy Bowl.

It was the Red Wolves' second consecutive victory in the game, and their third trip in as many seasons. And this one looked to be lost when Jahwan Edwards barrelled in from a yard out to give Ball State a 20-16 lead with 1:32 left in the game.

That score was set up by Knighten's worst pass of the night, an interception by Eric Patterson in the end zone while Knighten was rolling to the right sideline.

"Just didn't put enough on it," Knighten said.

But Knighten fired a 26-yard bullett over the middle to J.D. McKissic, then two plays later, lofted a floater to Muse who was wide open in a corner of the end zone.

"When we realized we were down, we had to make a play," Knighten said. "There

was no other choice."

Andrew Tryon gave Ball State one last chance when he hit Willie Snead out of bounds late to set up Secor's 38-yard attempt. But defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers blocked Ball State's game-tying attempt to give ASU a second consecutive bowl victory and send interim coach John Thompson out victorious in his final game at ASU.

As soon as the blocked kick fell to the ground, ASU's sideline spilled onto the field to celebrate a victory in a bowl game in which they were playing for the third consecutive year under an interim coach.

"They are some special, special young men to do what they've done," interim Coach John Thompson said. "They're fighters. They're over-comers, they're wonderful, wonderful young men."

Knighten completed 15-of-20 passes for 115 yards and 1 touchdown and rushed for 97 yards more, while Sirgregory Thornton rushed forASU's only other touchdown.

Knighten relieving Kennedy was a move ASU had been poised ot make all month after Kennedy dislocated his left kneecap in a Nov. 30 loss at Western Kentucky. Kennedy practiced all week, but stressed he never felt comfortable. On Sunday, he started, ran two series that ended with punts before giving way to the sophomore from Little Rock.

"Adam Kennedy got us here," Thompson said. "My heart goes out to him, that he was not out there on the field when it ended."

ASU (8-5) held Ball State's Spread offense that averaged 40.1 points per game this season mostly in check other than an 80-yard drive that led to the final score. Thompson's plan was simple: Get to Wenning, the school's all-time leading passer.

Rocky Hayes and Kyle Coleman each sacked Wenning in the first half, five passes were broken up and Qushaun Lee intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.

Wenning finished 23-of-44 passing for a season-low 215 yards.

"Once we got to the quarterback and gave him a couple of hits, it threw his game off," linebacker Qushaun Lee said. "We got the pressure up front, then he was scrambling for his life back there."


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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 total comments

cwbird says... January 5, 2014 at 11:57 p.m.

This is a fabulous victory. ASU winning their bowl game this year is fabulous all by itself, but when they also beat David Letterman's alma mater, it made it twice as fabulous.

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Delta2 says... January 6, 2014 at 12:09 a.m.

Maybe the so-called statewide daily and its so-called sports editor will finally start paying attention to ASU...oh, wait, I forgot what state this was. Never mind.

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AdodiBro says... January 6, 2014 at 12:28 a.m.

Wonderful news to hear.

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RBBrittain says... January 6, 2014 at 12:29 a.m.

Let's not forget that ASU had to beat not only Ball State, but also the refs *and* the ESPN commentators. The refs hit them with TWO questionable late-hit calls, including the one that set up the final blocked FG. And on the play before that the ref first called the player down before going out of bounds (correct call), then CHANGED it to incomplete to keep the clock from running out EVEN THOUGH Ball State had called timeout; the ESPN guys actually called in a former SEC ref to explain how the changed call was inexplicably correct! If the Hogs got THAT kind of officiating, Jeff Long would pay Bret Bielema's inevitable fine for criticizing the refs AND demand heads roll in Birmingham...

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AlanGino says... January 6, 2014 at 6:55 a.m.

Congratulations to the Arkansas State Red Wolves!
Must say that I am extremely disappointed in the coverage displayed on the cover of the paper's Sports Page this morning regarding that bowl victory. The win looks to have barely squeezed out an honorable mention. Certainly not the coverage that the University of Arkansas would have gotten - even if they had lost!

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Jfish says... January 6, 2014 at 7:12 a.m.

Congratulations to the team and John Thompson for finding a way to win.

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tppt2aolcom says... January 6, 2014 at 7:48 a.m.

This year's GoDaddy Bowl was a great and exciting game. It's too bad ASU didn't show loyalty and appreciation for Coach Thompson for the work he has done by hiring him instead of brining in another outsider who is looking to climb up the coaching ladder. Will the next guy be a "one and gone" kind of coach? The ASU administration should be ashamed of itself. As a 1979 graduate of ASU, I have never been able to accept the name change to Red Wolves and was, and remain, offended by the name change. So much for the tradition of college football that the NCAA uses as a selling point for its products. It was nothing more than political correctness. Also, I hope that ASU is able to move up on the bowl food chain this coming season.

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hisshog says... January 6, 2014 at 11:42 p.m.

Congrats to the Red Wolves! Proud of them!

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