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Vegas trip becomes a reality for champ Ramsour

Heather VanHoegarden | Wednesday, September 1, 2004

He missed band practice and Keenan football tryouts, but as a result, he is going to Las Vegas for free.

Junior Ben Ramsour took home the 2004 EA Sports Football Challenge Tuesday night, winning the championship 10-7 as Louisiana State in the three-hour event.

“I knew if I played my game, I’d put myself in position to win,” the Keenan Hall resident said of the contest, which was played on Playstation2 systems.

Ramsour defeated Knott Hall sophomore Trey Patrick, who played as Florida State in all his games, except for one.

“I thought it was gonna take up too much time from school work,” Patrick said of the competition he decided to participate in Sunday night.

Ramsour was the winner of 50 participants, each of which could chose to be any team in the game. As a result, Ramsour will travel to Las Vegas Dec. 10-11, where he will face off against 15 other winners from schools such as Purdue, Penn State and Oklahoma, for a chance to win $10,000.

“I’m pumped,” he said. “I’ll be 21 by the time I go, so it’ll be even better.”

Ramsour played as LSU the entire time, running the option like a pro. In the final game, he registered zero passing yards. In a game with only three minute quarters, it was key to dominating the competition.

“I attempted to pass,” he said. “But no one was open.”

Ramsour said he plays about five games a week. He is in a “dynasty” with guys in Keenan, and the eight of them play frequently. But he had a scare in the second round.

With just 30 seconds to play, he was faced with a fourth-and-11, down by seven points against Southern California. He converted the fourth down, went on to score and then won in overtime to keep his chances alive.

“I just got lucky,” he said.

For Ramsour, the dream of playing football for Notre Dame was only reachable via video games.

“I figured since I’m not good enough to be on the Notre Dame team, I’d just get on the stick,” he said.

The contest, sponsored by the Student Union Board, was open to 128 students. However, due to a flaw in the online registration process of EA Sports, many students weren’t given the ability to sign up.

“We were very excited to work with EA Sports, but the sign-up process was flawed,” said Ashley Sinnott, Student Union Board special events programmer. “It’s not SUB’s fault. People who weren’t students were allowed to enroll. It was a good event, and we wish there was a better turnout. It’s unfortunate that’s how it worked out.”

Notre Dame was the first stop on the tour for EA Sports, which is doing this contest for the first time. In the past, they have done the competition with Madden NFL games.

“We’re used to Madden,” Trey Geiger, of the EA Sports lifestyle marketing department said. “So it’s a high bar. It’s the first event. You go back to our first-ever Madden Challenge, and it wasn’t as high as you expected either.”

But Geiger wasn’t discouraged by the relatively low turnout.

“Everybody who came out had a good time,” he said. “A lot of guys said, ‘Hey call me when you’re coming back next year.’ You can’t expect to come out of nowhere and have everyone know about it. But I think a lot knew about it, it was just they thought it was full.”

Regardless, Ramsour is going to Las Vegas with a chance at $10,000, and he is excited.

“Vegas, baby, Vegas!”