Central Michigan got walloped by Ball State on Saturday afternoon and dropped to 3-2 behind a 45-20 loss. The Chippewas fell behind 24-7 at halftime and could not mount a second-half comeback despite every effort. Head coach Jim McElwain pulled out all of the stops, including a questionable special teams call late in the first half.
After a Cardinals touchdown, Kalil Pimpleton fielded the kickoff around the 22-yard-line and paused at the spot where he picked up the ball. The rest of his teammates in the vicinity gathered around the returner in a loose seven-man huddle before breaking their separate ways. As Pimpleton starts up field, he bumps into the deep return man and fumbled the ball. Ball State recovered.
There are three ways that this could have gone. Two of them would have been acceptable, and then there’s this. In a more perfect scenario, the huddle confuses the kicking team and Pimpleton is able to escape while would-be tacklers key in on another man after disguising the fact that he did not hand the ball off. Alternatively, the huddle leads to a separate ballcarrier taking a handoff, who then hides the ball and slips out to the edge before the defense realizes he has the ball. Nope, McElwain had his kick returner stop all of his momentum (while the kicking team advanced down field at full speed) only to hold onto the ball and run straight into his own teammate, turning the ball over.
The turnover did not end up resulting in points, but it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Any team that makes such a poor attempt a trickery deserves to lose anyway.