CBSSports.com writer Tom Fornelli ranked all of the college football bowl games using a formula to determine how exciting all of the games were and placed Arkansas State’s 23-20 victory over Ball State as the seventh best game of the bowl season.
Fornelli explains his formula as uses statistics from each game including final margin of victory, average point differential throughout the game, and lead changes, among other aspects. The GoDaddy Bowl’s largest deficit occurred when Ball State took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but was back and forth after that. The game was tied at halftime 10-10 before two Brian Davis field goals gave A-State a 16-10 lead in the third quarter. Ball State cut the lead to three at 16-13 and scored the go ahead touchdown with 1:33 left in the game. Trailing 20-16, Fredi Knighten led A-State on a 59-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Allen Muse with 32 seconds left in the game to set the score at 23-20. The excitement didn’t end there as Ball State drove down to get in position for a game-tying field goal attempt on the last play of the game, but Scott Secor’s 38-yard field goal try was blocked by Ryan Carrethers to clinch the 23-20 victory for Arkansas State. A-State’s victory, its second straight in the GoDaddy Bowl, ranked ahead of the No. 8 Little Caesar’s Bowl in which Pittsburgh defeated Bowling Green 30-27. The Cotton Bowl, which resulted in Missouri beating Oklahoma State 41-31, was ranked just ahead of the GoDaddy Bowl at No. 6. Fornelli also ranked the bowl games before they started based on how intriguing the matchups were. The GoDaddy bowl was ranked 25th and its jump of 18 spots in his post bowl rankings was the third-highest among all bowl games. The Red Wolves finished the season with an 8-5 record and, along with Louisiana-Lafayette’s 24-21 victory in the New Orleans Bowl, helped the Sun Belt Conference to a 2-0 bowl record.