Booker Mays went from gunner to goat on the Arkansas State punt team.
A Fainting Goat, to be exact.
Perhaps you’ve seen the video of the bizarre fake punt from the second quarter of the Red Wolves’ 41-20 loss on Saturday at Miami by now.
Since Monday night, when the video emerged online, Mays’ life has turned ... well, let him explain.
“It’s been totally crazy,” he said.
A sophomore receiver from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Mays said he learned of the video’s existence from a fraternity brother at their Jonesboro, Arkansas, campus. By Tuesday morning, Mays said, "it was total chaos.”
“I’m loving it,” he said. “It’s all fun. My job was to take one step back and fall straight down. I was supposed to get the attention of the defense while my teammate got the touchdown.”
It didn’t work out quite like that. While Mays executed his part of the play to perfection, Arkansas State punter Luke Ferguson – on fourth-and-4 from the Miami 41-yard line with the Hurricanes up 20-7 – misfired in his attempt to hit Frankie Jackson.
Miami’s Raphael Kirby intercepted the pass as Mays lay motionless.
The idea for the Fainting Goat came from ASU special teams coordinator and receivers coach Luke Paschall.
The inspiration? North Carolina, with Pascall on staff and first-year Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson in charge of the offense, pulled a prank in a 2012 practice on quarterback Bryn Renner in which everyone but Renner toppled to the ground.
They called it the Fainting Goat.
So early last week in Jonesboro, Paschall approached Mays.
“He told me the play of the week, the special teams funky deal, was a fake punt – the Fainting Goat,” Mays said. “In my mind, I was like, ‘What’s that?’”
Said Paschall: “Book, you’re going to be the goat.”
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ What is he saying?” Mays said.
Usually, Mays works as the gunner in punt coverage. In this alignment, though, he was ineligible to run downfield. Mays said he practiced the fall all week.
And when it came time to run it, he added a little fun to the equation by acting sick at the line of scrimmage.
“I was talking to the guy across from me, saying, ‘Wow, there is some thick air down here in Miami,” Mays said. “I sold out for the play. I was all in.”
No one from Miami said a word to Mays after the play.
“No, sir,” he said. “It was like nothing even happened.”
Maybe next time, the Red Wolves can fool the opponent.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Mays said.