The 7 weirdest things that happened in the Camellia Bowl

Dr. Saturday

The Camellia Bowl never disappoints.

Saturday night’s matchup between Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State was just the fourth installment of the Montgomery, Alabama-based bowl, and it continued the trend of close games. In the previous three years, the game was decided by five, two and three points. This time around, Middle Tennessee, after leading 28-10, barely emerged with a 35-30 victory.

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It was a truly wacky game that featured a combined 813 yards of offense, 17 penalties, six turnovers and lasted over four hours. But that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of all the weird things that happened.

Here are the seven weirdest:

7. Perfect punter pass

Arkansas State QB Justice Hansen had an up-and-down game, completing 31-of-57 passes for 337 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He often held onto the ball way too long, especially on the last drive when he took three sacks at a point where his team, down five points, had no timeouts. It wasn’t Hansen who threw the best pass of the night for ASU. No, it was punter Cody Grace’s back-shoulder throw on a fourth-and-14 fake:

6. Keeping your head in the game

Arkansas State’s B.J. Edmonds had two impressive interceptions on the evening, including this one where he deflected the ball off his own helmet and still made the play.

5. Best penalty ever

Leading 35-23 with 6:00 to go, Middle Tennessee avoided a potential disaster thanks to a penalty… by itself. You see, MTSU was about to punt from its own end zone but was flagged for a false start. If not for that false start, Arkansas State would have been awarded a safety and gotten the ball because MTSU’s long snapper snapped the ball way over his punter’s head and out of the end zone. Instead, the ball was moved half the distance to the goal and MTSU was able to get the punt off on its next try.

4. Reffin’ ain’t easy

The game’s umpire fell over and got hit in the head with a third quarter pass from MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill. Poor guy.

(via ESPN)
(via ESPN)

3. What were they thinking?

There’s a fine line between being aggressive and being stupid. With a chance to take a significant chunk off the clock, MTSU did something stupid. With 1:34 to play, the Blue Raiders decided to throw the ball on 3rd & 8 from the ASU 42-yard line. The Red Wolves had no timeouts. A run would have taken the clock well into the final minute of regulation. Instead, an incomplete pass gave Arkansas State the ball with 1:27 to go.

But ASU almost made sure it didn’t regain possession. When MTSU punted the ball following the incomplete pass, the Red Wolves were flagged for running into the kicker. At first, it seemed like roughing (which would have resulted in an automatic first down) was the right call — until you saw the replay and subsequent acting work from MTSU punter Matt Bonadies.

(via ESPN)
(via ESPN)

Give that guy an Oscar.

2. Ugly sweater party

Kyle Cefalo, ASU’s inside receivers coach, wore a Christmas sweater on the sideline for the game.

It had a dinosaur on it!

And when head coach Blake Anderson went berserk over a non-call, Cefalo had to hold his boss back all while wearing the sweater. It was hilarious.

1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The first quarter featured one of those plays you have to see to believe:

MTSU QB Brent Stockstill dropped in a great pass Shane Tucker down to the ASU 5-yard line. However, the ball was ripped from Tucker’s arms by Arkansas State defensive back Justin Clifton. Clifton wasn’t sure if he was down, so he instinctively got up and ran in the opposite direction. He went a long way before Stockstill hustled back and stripped him of the ball. The ball bounced around until Kyle Wilson controlled it for what looked like an absurd, 99-yard touchdown.

But it was all for naught. After a lengthy review, it was determined that Clifton cleanly swiped the ball from Tucker, but Clifton was down at the 1-yard line. All of that running was for nothing.

And that’s the story of the Camellia Bowl.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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