Anatomy of a play: Ball State vs. Toledo
Late in the first quarter, Ball State was gifted with great field position after Toledo’s punt was partially blocked. The Cardinals were driving in Rockets’ territory when quarterback Riley Neal fumbled on a read option run with 3:17 left in the first quarter. At the time, both teams were scoreless, but after this turnover Toledo went on to take over the game.
Here’s the anatomy of Neal’s fumble that gave Toledo the momentum.
1. Ball State is lined up in shotgun formation at the 33-yard line with fullback Dylan Curry is lined up behind the left tackle. They had three receivers out on the field. KeVonn Mabon and Corey Lacanaria were lined up on the left side, while Jordan Williams was on the right. When the ball was snapped, Neal read the defensive end to decide whether to hand it off to James Gilbert (lined up on his right) or keep it.
2. Neal kept the ball on the read option, which was the correct move. He read the Rockets' defensive tackle, Marquise Moore on the play. Moore followed Gilbert, giving Neal the open lane to move up field.
3. He gained three yards on the inside, before Toledo linebacker Jaylen Coleman hit him perfectly to knock out the football.
4. The ball flew forward out of Neal’s hand. Gilbert was near it, but Toledo’s Kennen Gibbs pounced on it before he can get on top of it.
Neal’s fumble was one of the crucial plays that led to Toledo’s 24-3 halftime lead. The Rockets ended up spoiling Ball State’s Homecoming with a 24-10 victory. All of their points came in the second quarter, just minutes after this fumble ensued.