FOOTBALL: Anatomy of a Play vs. Northern Illinois

Early in the fourth quarter, Ball State trailed Northern Illinois 21-14. Backed up deep in his territory, Ball State quarterback Jack Milas tried to force a pass to his right, which was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. 

The touchdown would ultimately be the game-winning score in Northern Illinois’ 35-21 victory. 

“Offensively, we were very inconsistent with all of the turnovers,” Ball State head coach Pete Lembo said.

1. There’s 13:06 left in the fourth quarter. Ball State is on the left hash of its 15-yard line. Milas is in the shotgun, Horactio Banks is standing behind Milas slightly to his left. Ball State also has four wide receivers, two to the right and two to the left.

2. Northern Illinois is in nickel defense: four linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs. Three of the defensive backs cover Ball State receivers, while one linebacker shadows the final receiver. 

3. At the snap, Milas drops back and looks to his right. His head turns to the right, and he locks onto Corey Lacanaria. Feeling pressure, he quickly throws the ball.

4. With the ball hanging in the air, Northern Illinois’ Anthony Brooks jumps in front of Lacanaria and intercepts the pass, returning it for the touchdown and extending the lead to 28-14.


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