FOOTBALL: Reporter's notebook

Freshman Aaron Mershman has spent all season acting like Ball State University's third-string quarterback. He travels with the team and sends in the play calls from the sidelines.

The Cardinals lost Kelly Page in the second quarter Saturday against Bowling Green State University with an injured thumb and he did not return to the sideline. However, coach Stan Parrish said Mershman would not have played Saturday if backup Tanner Justice had gone down in the second half.

Instead, Ball State would have used running back Eric Williams in the Wildcat formation for the rest of the game.

"I probably would have done that," Parrish said. "He doesn't care. He'd like to play every play in the Wildcat."

Williams has yet to throw a pass out of the formation in a game, but he has practiced throwing.

"He's good, he's capable of it all," Parrish said. "Fortunately, last week we put in about seven or eight plays."

After Page and Justice on the depth chart, Ball State has three freshmen quarterbacks who are redshirting. If Page is forced to miss significant time with his injury, Mershman would have to move up to backup. Parrish would much prefer not to use Mershman's redshirt.


Page is scheduled for an MRI on Monday.

Hot leg: Two poor kicking performances in a row led to Parrish making wholesale changes.
Ian McGarvey took the opening kickoff Saturday, replacing Jake Hogue. McGarvey also missed a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter and was replaced as placekicker by Steven Schott.

Schott, a redshirt freshman, scored his first career goal in the third quarter when he converted an extra point. He later added another extra point and a 28-yard field goal. Parrish said he will stick with Schott.

"He made them," Parrish said. "I'm looking for anything. They weren't pretty, but it was in. Until he misses, I'm going to leave him in there."

Parrish said he doesn't know what Schott's field goal range is yet.

Hogue and McGarvey each took two kickoffs Saturday. Hogue averaged 55 yards per kick and McGarvey averaged 63.

BCS busters: Monday is the one-year anniversary of Ball State's debut in the BCS rankings. In this year's initial rankings, five mid-majors are ranked, but none are from the Mid-American Conference.

Central Michigan University took a big jump toward entering the rankings this week. If the USA Today Coaches Poll was extended, Central Michigan would be 29th. The highest computer ranking the Chippewas have is 15th in Dr. Peter Wolfe's poll.

Ball State is 292nd in Wolfe's rankings.

Central Michigan visits Scheumann Stadium on Nov. 18.

Anger management: A reporter observed that Parrish's mood was improved in Saturday's postgame press conference, relative to earlier in the year.

Parrish said he can only be mad for so long before it becomes ineffective.

"I like being mad," he said. "I think football's about being mad. But I like being mad in a good way. I, personally, feel terrible for our fans, former players, everybody."


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