MUNCIE, Ind. - When Toledo linebacker Paul Dye shot through from left end and blocked Reggie Hodge's punt with 6:35 remaining in the game yesterday, he figured the Rockets were on their way to win No. 6.
UT did eventually turn Dye's block into the go-ahead field goal, an 18-yarder by Todd France.
But Ball State's Corey Parchman took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 100 yards with 3:07 remaining.
“I was dancing around out there on the end all game long,” said Dye, who has three career blocks. “Every time I faked a rush, the wing guy would back up. So I took the opening, shot through there and blocked it.''
UT had used another big special teams play to tie the game at 17 a short time earlier.
Linebacker Sid Daniels, who earlier was flagged 15 yards for running into Hodge in the second quarter, redeemed himself in a big way.
Daniels took the direct snap from long snapper Chris Tuminello out of a punt formation and scampered 32 yards around right end on a fourth-and-7 play from the Ball State 43.
The very next play, tailback Chester Taylor took a pitch from quarterback Tavares Bolden, rolled right, then threw an 11-yard scoring strike to Bolden back across the field.
“I knew we were going to call for the fake,'' said Daniels, who also led UT with 11 tackles. “I couldn't believe how open it was out there.”
Ironically, the rest of UT's special teams failed miserably, and that ended up costing the Rockets the game.
Daniels had one of UT's three first-half interceptions. The Rockets have been giving up points in bunches - 113 in the past 15 quarters.
NON-FACTORS: Taylor entered with a lofty 7.3-yard average and three straight 100-yard games against Ball State.
He managed just eight yards on 11 carries in the first half and finished with 25 yards on 18 carries. Based on at least 10-plus carries, both were career lows for Taylor, limited by a sprained right ankle.
Ball State tailback Mike Merriweather, who held a slight edge over Taylor in the Mid-American Conference's rushing race (128.5 to 126.2), didn't fare much better. He had 39 yards on 18 carries.
QUICK HITS: Punter Brandon Hannum had one punt blocked yesterday, but he did manage a career-long 70-yarder. ... Ball State had managed just one touchdown in the last 12 quarters against UT prior to yesterday. ... Bolden, who was coming off a career game against Ohio two weeks ago, was 26 of 42 passing for 259 yards yesterday. ... Tom Ward, who leads the MAC in tackles, had 10 stops.40.19316 -85.38173