No, Ball State Football (1-1) didn’t win, as Penn State (2-0) won its home opener 44-13. But there was someone who got his first opportunity to play for the Cardinals since beating Fordham 57-29 in week 1 of 2019.
Redshirt junior quarterback John Paddock got one of the biggest opportunities of his career, even if it was for one two-minute drive at the end of an already decided game.
“I'm proud of John,” head coach Mike Neu said. “He stepped in there. He's a competitor. I thought he did a nice job of just running the offense when he got in, and I think that says a lot about him staying ready. He’s always worked hard in practice. He's worked hard in the film room and John is a talented guy so it is good to see him makes some impressive throws.”
On the final drive of the game, Paddock stepped in on 2nd down and 6 and threw a bullet to his left to redshirt freshman tight end Ryan Lezon for a six-yard gain. The next play, Paddack completed a pass to redshirt senior receiver, Trevor Hohlt. The biggest play of the game for Paddack was a 28-yard completion to redshirt fifth-year tight end Dylan Koch.
Paddock completed his first five throws and ended the day 5-for-6 passing with 50 yards and a 153.3 quarterback rating.
“He’s a super-competitor,” fifth-year senior Bryce Cosby said. “He’s our scout-team quarterback so we see that ferocity and drive from him on an everyday basis. “He’s got a super bright future. I’ve watched him put in the work every day. He’s got a contagious attitude and a competitive spirit. It was good to see him get that drive at the end of the game. I think it was great for him to boost his confidence.”
Paddock will potentially have an opportunity to compete for the job at starting quarterback next season so fifth-year senior offensive lineman Curtis Blackwell said these repetitions were important for him.
“I was really impressed with Paddack,” Blackwell said. “The way he was leading the offense in the last series and all of the guys who were getting important reps there. They are continuing to develop, and I am proud of how they came out and executed.”