The Arkansas State football team has lost two games in a row and absorbed a 41-20 beating at the hands of Miami Saturday, but nobody can accuse the Red Wolves of not having fun.
Confusion reigned on this fake punt gone awry against the Hurricanes Saturday, but nothing was more confusing than ASU wide receiver Booker Mays, lined up in the near-side slot position, collapsing as if having a heart attack at the snap of the ball.
Fred G. Sanford would be proud.
Now, for the back story on the play.
First, it was designed, not improvised. Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson said the Red Wolves practiced the play all week, and Mays got more and more convincing with his collapse as the week went on. Second, it was not only designed, but inspired. Anderson was on the North Carolina staff last year when the team decided to pull a prank on quarterback Bryn Renner. That prank, known as the "Fainting Goat," in which all 22 players except Renner collapsed immediately after a snap during practice, has commanded more than a million hits on youtube.com. So here is the story of Saturday's adaptation:
"Because of the formation we were in for that fake punt, Booker was covered up and couldn't go downfield, or it would be a penalty," Anderson told College Football 24/7. "So we said, 'What do we want to do with him? Do we want to bubble him or peel him out?' Someone said let's just let him be a fainting goat. I loved it, so we just put that in. His job on that play was basically to not get a penalty by going downfield, because the fake was on the backside of the play. These kids have had five head coaches in five years, so we try to let them have fun."
Masterful as the performance was, it didn't appear to confuse the 'Canes -- or even one Hurricane. UM intercepted a pass on the play, and a look at the latter part of the play shows that Miami linebacker Thurston Armbrister took no pity on his fallen opponent.