Mobile, Ala. • Allen Muse caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Fredi Knighten with 32 seconds remaining to lift Arkansas State past Ball State 23-20 at the GoDaddy Bowl on Sunday night.
Ball State had a chance to tie at the end of regulation, but Scott Secor’s 38-yard field-goal attempt was blocked as time expired.
Arkansas State (8-5) won the GoDaddy Bowl for a second straight season, despite losing starting quarterback Adam Kennedy to a knee injury in the second quarter. Kennedy is a transfer from Utah State.
It was the Red Wolves’ third straight trip to Mobile.
Knighten had 115 yards passing and 97 yards rushing. Muse, who considered quitting football following his father’s suicide, wound up with the biggest catch of the night just five plays after Ball State took a four-point lead that looked as if it could have held up.
Ball State (10-3) went ahead 20-16 with 1:33 remaining on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jahwan Edwards, but couldn’t hold the lead. Edwards finished with a game-high 146 yards rushing.
Keith Wenning capped his Ball State career with 215 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception. He’s the first Ball State quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.
For a second straight season, Arkansas State shrugged off a coaching change to win the GoDaddy Bowl.
Arkansas State lost coach Bryan Harsin to Boise State in December. He’s the latest in a string of three ASU coaches, including Hugh Freeze (Mississippi) and Gus Malzahn (Auburn), who have left the program for a more high-profile job.
John Thompson was the team’s interim coach for a second straight season, and the veteran defensive coordinator led a staff that managed to cobble together a workable offense without Kennedy.
But the Red Wolves couldn’t turn productive drives into touchdowns, settling for short field goals from 18 and 29 yards during the third quarter to push ahead 16-10.
It nearly came back to haunt them.
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