Weekend in Review: Thanksgiving Break
Thanksgiving brought a much-needed break for most students, but several Ball State athletic teams were still playing.
When many students were driving home Nov. 22, Ball State football was taking on Miami (Ohio), men's basketball was in Las Vegas and women's basketball was in Savannah, Georgia.
A pair of former Ball State football players also had a memorable week, including a championship in Canada.
Here's what went down:
Mabon sets record as Ball State football drops season finale
Size, speed, route-running ability — none of that means anything if a wide receiver can't catch the football.
But Ball State's KeVonn Mabon has that. All of that, in fact. And now he's got a place atop the program record book to show for it.
Mabon finished last week's season-ending 21-20 loss at Miami with 244 career catches, breaking the mark Dante Ridgeway set in 2004 for the most receptions in Ball State program history. The fifth-year senior out of St. Louis, Missouri, complemented that record with 2,862 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns, both of those stats also ranking in the top 10 in school history.
Sophomore running back James Gilbert also finished the year with the fourth-most single-season rushing yards in Ball State history.
Men's basketball wins two in Vegas, falls to Valparaiso
The Cardinals won two games in Las Vegas last week, although break hadn't officially started for Nov. 21 79-77 win against Coppin State.
In its second game of the week in the Men Who Speak Up Main Event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Ball State topped Southern Utah 94-83 on Nov. 23.
Ball State returned to Indiana to play Valparaiso Nov. 27, but lost 77-73.
Junior swingman Sean Sellers led the Cardinals in scoring over the three-game stretch with 14.3 points per game.
The Cardinals are now 3-3 on the season and host IU Kokomo Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.
Women's basketball goes 1-2 in Savannah Invitational
Ball State navigated tough competition in its road trip to Savannah, Georgia, playing three games in three days.
The Cardinals (3-2) started off the tournament Nov. 22 with a 54-40 loss to Auburn (6-1). Ball State turned the ball over 27 times in the game, and leading scorer junior forward Moriah Monaco was held to just 11 points in the game.
North Carolina A&T (1-5) provided less resistance Nov. 23, as Ball State won 76-57. Four Cardinals recorded at least 10 points and the team hit 53.6 percent of its shots.
Thanksgiving Day, the Cardinals finished the invitational with an 82-69 overtime loss to East Carolina (5-2). The two teams combined for 47 fouls, and Ball State was outscored 19-6 in overtime.
Ball State will host Chicago State Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
Willie Snead trick play
Mabon may be ahead of former Cardinal Willie Snead on the receptions list, but the New Orleans Saints receiver is still one spot ahead in career yards.
It was Snead's arm, however, that drew attention Nov. 27. He made national highlight reels after throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams.
Snead has 51 catches for 593 yards and four touchdowns this season, and the play was his first career pass attempt in the NFL.
Former Cardinal wins Grey Cup
About 1,200 miles north of New Orleans, another former Ball State receiver was playing for the Canadian Football League championship.
Jamill Smith is the primary kick returner for the Ottawa Redblacks, who beat the Calgary Stampeters 39-33 in overtime to win the Grey Cup on Nov. 27.
Letsssss goooo pic.twitter.com/JXBQbwu4Bj— Jamill Amin Smith Sr (@Millz2BeMade) November 28, 2016
Smith didn't record any receptions, but he returned four kicks for 67 yards and three punts for 33 yards.
In Canada, kick returner is an important role because field position is at a premium with the longer field (110 yards vs. 100 in the U.S.) and a play that would be a touchback in the NFL earns a single point, also known as a rouge, for the kicking team in the CFL.
No rouges were recorded in this year's Grey Cup, but they can lead to crazy plays.
Smith played at Ball State from 2010 to 2013.