MOBILE, Ala. – Ball State suffered a 23-20 loss to Arkansas State Sunday night in Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in the GoDaddy Bowl after its 38-yard field goal attempt with two seconds on the clock was blocked.
“This was a very disappointing loss,” Ball State head coach Pete Lembo says. “Nothing is going to take the sting away from this one, knowing we had chances to win it on multiple occasions. However, I do not want it to overshadow what this team was able to accomplish this year.”
Ball State trailed 16-10 before a 37-yard field goal by Scott Secor with 12:58 to go in the game pulled the Cardinals to within 16-13.
An Eric Patterson interception in the Red Wolves' endzone with 8:24 to play gave the Cardinals a chance. Jahwan Edwards then gave the Cardinals the lead on a 1-yard run with 1:33 to play, and the Secor extra point made the score 20-16 Ball State. The drive went 80 yards in 16 plays and took 6:51 off the clock.
But the 1:25 still remaining proved to be too much time. Arkansas State scored with just 28 seconds to play on a 13-yard pass from Fredi Knighten to Allen Muse to take a 23-20 lead.
Ball State mounted a drive to the Arkansas State 21-yard line and set up a 38-yard field goal attempt for Secor, but it was blocked as time expired in the Cardinals’ ninth bowl appearance in school history.
“We were proud of how the kids kept battling,” Lembo says. “We have had 12 to 13 two-minute drives in the last three years in situations we have been able to score, and that last drive felt like one of those drives. Scott Secor has a pretty long leg, and it looked to me like the field goal operation was good. They were in an all-out block and got some penetration. On the drive we gave up that turned out to be the winning score, we were in pretty good coverage and we just did not cover it.”
Keith Wenning completed 23-of-44 passes for 215 yards with one touchdown and one interception as he became the first Ball State quarterback to top 4,000 yards in a season. Willie Snead was his top target with nine catches for 87 yards and the one score, breaking the Ball State single-season record with 106 receptions.
Edwards ignited the Ball State offense with 28 carries for 146 yards and one touchdown.
Ball State finished the season with a 10-3 overall record, marking only the third time in the school’s 89-year history the Cardinals have won at least 10 games in a season. The appearance in this year’s GoDaddy Bowl also marked the second time in school history the team has made back-to-back bowl appearances – with the only other time coming after the 2007 and 2008 campaigns.