FOOTBALL: Orsbon productive even without receptions

Parrish says wide receiver will get the ball Saturday

The celebrations at Scheumann Stadium began last Thursday night when Kelly Page took a knee, ending Ball State's 27-10 victory against Southeast Missouri State. The Cardinals gathered in front of the students and band to sing the fight song.

Wide receiver Briggs Orsbon was with his teammates as they enjoyed Ball State's first victory at home since 2008. He celebrated like the rest of his Cardinals, despite not catching a pass that night. It was only the second time in Orsbon's 27-game career he didn't record a reception. The last also came in a victory, Ball State's 29-27 win at Eastern Michigan last season.

Orsbon was content to focus on the team's success rather than his own stats.

"The team came away with a victory," he said. "That's the most important thing right now."

Against the Redhawks, Orsbon contributed a key punt block and cleared the way for the Cardinals' running backs. His performance was enough to make the Cardinal Club, a collection of the players who are graded the highest each week by their position coaches. To get the honor without catching a pass impressed coach Stan Parrish.

"That's the kind of players you want," he said.

Nevertheless, Parrish recognizes Orsbon is an impact player. The junior has led Ball State in receiving in his first two years on campus. His 1,274 receiving yards are already the 14th most in program history and he ranks eighth all-time in receptions with 119.

With that kind of player on the field, Parrish wants to be sure he gets the ball in his hands Saturday against Liberty.

"We will get the ball to Briggs," Parrish said. "We'll design some stuff for Briggs."

Orsbon almost sounded honored when he was told Parrish would be drawing up plays for him.

"That's always something good to hear out of the coach's mouth," he said. "I'm not worried about the ball coming my way."

With Page struggling and Parrish calling 54 running plays, a number he called shocking, Orsbon had to find other ways to get involved in last Thursday's game. Aside from his regular blocking assignments on running plays, offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner suggested adding him to the punt return team.

Earlier in his career, Orsbon had been a punt returner. This role, however, was to try and block a punt. In the third quarter he made the play, blocking his first punt at any level.

"I got my chance to go out and make the play," he said. "It turned out I was right there and I put my hands on the ball."

The play led to a Ball State field goal on the ensuing possession for a 24-7 lead.

This week, Orsbon will be asked to do more than block a punt and open holes for the Cardinals' running backs. But if that's all he had to do again, he'd be fine with that.

"I had opportunities out there to make plays for my team blocking wise," Orsbon said. "And that's what I did. I was proud of what I did on the field and what my team did."


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