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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Greatest college plays ever



Last week, Trinity University, a Division III football team from San Antonio, Tex., pulled off what might have been the greatest play in the history of college football. With two seconds left and needing a touchdown to win, Trinity scored on a 60-yard touchdown that featured 15 laterals to beat Millsaps College. It got me thinking about the best college plays ever. Now, certainly back in the days of Bronko Nagurski and Knute Rockne, there were probably plays that featured tons of laterals, broken tackles and incredible catches. But we’re sticking with some of the more familiar plays of recent memory.

1. The Play
Cal vs. Stanford, Nov. 20, 1982
Stanford's John Elway leads the Cardinal to what appeared to be a winning field goal with four seconds left. But on the ensuing kickoff, Cal pulled off five laterals. Cal's Kevin Moen then charged into the end zone, weaving his way not only throw the Cardinal kickoff team, but the Stanford band. Moen crashed into a trombone player for the winning score. Click here to see video.

2. Hail Flutie
Boston College vs. Miami, Nov. 23, 1984
Trailing 45-41 at the Orange Bowl, Boston College's diminutive quarterback Doug Flutie chucked the ball more than 60 yards in the air (the play officially was 48 yards) and it landed in the arms of Gerard Phelan as time expired. The play gave the Eagles the victory and probably won Flutie the Heisman Trophy. Click here to see video.

3. Bluegrass Miracle
LSU vs. Kentucky, Nov. 9, 2002
Leading LSU 30-27 with two seconds left, Kentucky players doused coach Guy Morriss with Gatorade. Uh, that was premature. From their own 18, LSU scored when QB Marcus Randall threw the ball as far as he could. He didn't even come close to reaching the end zone, but LSU's Devery Henderson caught a deflected pass at the 15 and raced into the end zone even as Kentucky fans were storming the field to rip down the goalposts. Click here to see video.

4. Miracle at Michigan
Colorado vs. Michigan, Sept. 24, 1994
Who said Kordell Stewart couldn't throw? The Colorado quarterback, with his team trailing by five, whipped a pass that travelled 73 yards in the air, tipped off the hands of Michigan defender and into the hands of diving Colorado receiver Michael Westbrook. The play stunned the crowd at Michigan’s Big House and gave the Buffaloes a 27-26 victory. Click here to see video.

5. The Run
Nebraska vs. Florida, Jan. 2, 1996
Bradenton's Tommie Frazier ripped off one of the great runs in college history and put the exclamation point on Nebraska's embarrassing 62-24 rout of Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. The quarterback held the ball on the option, broke a tackle and then was surrounded by four Gators. Somehow he broke all four tackles and raced 75 yards for a touchdown. Click here to see video.

6. Run Lindsay Run
Georgia vs. Florida, Nov. 8, 1980
Trailing 21-20 with 1:31 left, Georgia was at its own 7. Quarterback Buck Belue scrambled out of the pocket and hit wide receiver Lindsay Scott for what appeared to be a first down. Scott made it more than a first down. He caught the ball in the middle of the field, worked his way to the sideline and then raced home for a 93-yard TD as legendary Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson yelled, "Run Lindsay run!'' Click here to see video.

7. Nebraska's leg up
Nebraska vs. Missouri , Nov. 8, 1997
Down 38-31 to Missouri in what would have been a huge upset, Nebraska had the ball at the Missouri 12 with 12 seconds left. Quarterback Scott Frost threw the ball into the end zone, where it was deflected by a Missouri defender and then accidently kicked into the air. The ball landed in the hands of Nebraska receiver Matt Davison with no time left. Nebraska eventually won in overtime. Click here to see video.

8. Hook-and-lateral
Boise State vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 1, 2007
Little Boise State pulled out one football's great gadget plays in a shocking upset of Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Facing a fourth-and-18 from the 50, quarterback Jared Zabransky threw a pass to Drisan James, who then pitched it to streaking teammate Jarard Rabb, who raced another 35 yards for a touchdown. Boise State won in OT using another trick play — the Statue of Liberty. Click here to see video.

9. Young's dash
Texas vs. USC, Jan. 4, 2006
Not necessarily a spectacular play, but it captured the extraordinary season by Texas quarterback Vince Young. Down by three with 19 seconds left, Young scrambled untouched in the end zone for an 8-yard TD to give the Longhorns a 41-38 victory over Southern Cal and the national title. Click here to see video.

10. Fumble-rooskie
Nebraska vs. Miami, Jan. 2, 1984
In the game for the national title, Nebraska pulled off one of the great trick plays when quarterback Turner Gill took the snap and set it on the ground. Guard Dean Steinkuhler then picked it up and rumbled 19 yards for the touchdown. (Note: the "fumble-rooskie'' is now illegal.) Miami ended up winning 31-30 when Nebraska’s two-point conversion at the end of the game failed. I couldn't find this video, but click here to catch another glimpse of Trinity's incredible play.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:41pm]


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