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Wednesday (The turning point Tuesday in Ohio) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under NCAA: football Updated: November 7, 2012 - 9:53 AM

 

It was the ultimate battleground contest in a sure battleground state. And it was one that many predicted would have a massive impact on the final big-picture outcome.

 

The numbers showed the favorite was expected to win by as many as seven points, but that didn't stop the plucky underdog -- staggered by massive losses in late September and early October -- from coming into Ohio and getting the job done.

We are speaking, of course, of Ball State's upset Tuesday night in Toledo -- probably the one sporting event you were watching if you needed a break from election coverage.

If you were tired of PACs and craved some MACtion instead, ESPN2 is where you went.

And yes, you saw a critical win in Ohio on the sports channel.

Ball State, with back-to-back losses to Kent State and Northern Illinois a month ago, handed host Toledo its first conference loss. Northern Illinois now sits atop the West Division with a 6-0 record, while Toledo is 5-1 and Ball State is 4-2.

If you look at some of the peripherals, though, Ball State being a 7-point underdog was a bit of a stretch -- at least that's what Nate Silver might say, had he been asked. Ball State's two conference losses came to teams Toledo had not yet played. The Rockets had a lot of close victories coming in -- not to mention a non-conference loss to Arizona, which was just routed 66-10 by UCLA. Ball State, meanwhile, owns a non-conference victory over Indiana -- a team that controls its own fate in the race to get to the Big Ten title game.

"Vegas said 7," Silver might have said, "but I saw this as more of a dead heat."

Indeed, that's how the night played out -- with Ball State finally surging ahead inside of 2 minutes to break a 27-27 tie and take home a 34-27 victory. Toledo lost despite a prolific ground game that produced 311 yards rushing. A last-ditch drive failed, Ball State took over on downs, and Toledo -- out of timeouts -- was forced to concede.

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