This story originally appeared in the Monday, Oct. 22 issue of the Ball State Daily News.
When people look back on Ball State's 2001 Homecoming football game against Toledo, the majority of them will probably recall Corey Parchman's 100-yard, game-winning kickoff return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. What they may not remember is that the game did not end there.
With the Cardinals leading 24-20, and with under three minutes left to play, the previously undefeated Rockets began a march down the field towards the end zone. By the time the clock had ticked down to 1:15 remaining, Toledo found itself threatening the Cards on Ball State's 15-yard line. That is all the farther they got.
The Rockets were called for three holding penalties in a row. After adding up all the flags, Toledo faced a first and 40 situation back at the Ball State 45-yard line. On the next play, Cardinal Quentin Manley intercepted Toledo's quarterback Tavares Bolden.
"That forced them into doing something they didn't want to do," Ball State defensive end Rachman Crable said. "That put them in a situation where they had to throw it deep, which did not play into their strategy."
After the game, Toledo's head coach Tom Amstutz commented on the penalties called late against his team.
"They called a lot," Amstutz said. "If I was an official, I'm not calling three holding penalties in a row when I haven't called anything all day on either side."
Ball State's players agreed with the officials calls.
"I know I had one against me that was just," defensive tackle Mark Zackery said. "He pushed me in the back and grabbed my foot."
The end of the game was not the first time that penalties helped the Cardinals in their victory.
In the second quarter, with Toledo up 7-3, Ball State was forced to punt in a fourth and 12 situation. The Rockets were flagged for roughing the kicker on the punt though, giving the Cardinals a first down and keeping the drive alive.
Later in the second quarter, Toledo was called for defensive pass interference in the end zone. The penalty put Ball State in a first and goal situation. One play later, Marcus Merriweather punched the ball into the end zone for a three-yard touchdown.
Toledo was penalized 14 times for a total of 139 yards -- 94 more yards than the Cardinals.