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There wasn’t a College Football Playoff berth at stake, or even the MAC title on the line. But wow, last year’s Buffalo-Western Michigan game had it all: It was college football’s first seven-overtime game since 2006, the highest-scoring FBS game ever — hooray for #MACtion! — and the most premature viral sibling celebration of the college football season.
And some good news for 2018. Buffalo is unbeaten in the MAC East, and WMU is 4-1 in the West, so it’s possible we could get a rematch for all the MAC marbles at the end of the season.
Here’s a two-minute oral history of perhaps the craziest college football game of 2017.
DONNIE ERNSBERGER, FORMER WMU TIGHT END: Before that game, my sister texted me and said if I score twice, she’s definitely running out onto the field. I didn’t think she was serious.
SHALENE ERNSBERGER, SISTER WHO APPARENTLY ALWAYS KEEPS HER PROMISES: He scores one TD and I’m already thinking, “I’m going to run out there if he scores again.”
DONNIE: During the first overtime, my QB throws a jump ball and I catch it for a score. My teammates and I are celebrating when I feel someone else come up and bull-rush me. That’s when I realize my sister is on the field.
KARA ERNSBERGER, MORTIFIED MOM: She blew right past three Buffalo police officers. I thought, “I can’t believe she just did that.”
SHALENE: I went to the big group of white uniforms and wiggled my way into the middle until I found Donnie. My initial thought was, “We won the game!” I hugged him and yelled, “I’m so proud of you!”
DONNIE: I said, “You gotta get out of here,” and gave her a gentle push.
SHALENE: That’s when I realized the game wasn’t actually over.
BRANDON WILLIAMS, BUFFALO CORNERBACK: The refs did nothing, so I said, “She shouldn’t be on the field!”
TIM LESTER, CONFUSED WMU COACH: The refs threw a flag, and I made a beeline to find out why. They thought she’d come from our sideline, which would have been a penalty on us. I said she came out of the crowd, which means it’s not a sideline violation. Eventually they picked up the flag.
DONNIE: My teammates said, “Man, that’s sweet-and it’s about to go viral.”
SHALENE: I wanted to get off the field as fast as I could. The security officers told me I had to go outside, and I grabbed the car keys from my mom in the front row of the family seats on the way out of the stadium. I waited in the car and eventually fell asleep. Hours later [WMU beat Buffalo 71-68 after six more OTs], my mom came out and said, “Your video went viral-and your brother won!” I got asked afterward to do lots of interviews but declined. I didn’t run out there for publicity-I did it as something for my brother and me to share.
LESTER: We had another OT game two weeks later, and one of the refs was explaining overtime rules and asked if we understood. I said, “Yes, we went through seven OTs recently.” And he said, “Isn’t that the game when the sister …” And right as he’s saying that, I looked at the stands and saw Shalene. I was hoping that’s where she’d stay.
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