True football fans know the story of the Music City Miracle. That little play the Tennessee Titans pulled off on a kickoff with time running off of the clock to win a game that many thought lost.
And there are probably many more people who remember the last Fiesta Bowl, with Boise State pulling off gadget play after gadget play at the end of the game, and in overtime, to upset the heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners.
But here’s the thing about the Music City Miracle and the Boise State gadgets. Those were planned plays. Coaches had drawn them and put them in play books. They’d been practiced, time and again.
So yes, they’re special plays. But they’re not SPECIAL PLAYS. Special plays are those that are unplanned. That are born out of panic. Out of necessity. Because there’s no damn choice.
Some of you may remember the 2005 Alamo Bowl between Michigan and Nebraska. There’s time for one play. Michigan needs a touchdown to win. There’s the snap of the ball and a completion. Then there’s the lateral. And another. And suddenly the ball’s back behind the line of scrimmage. Then there’s another lateral. And a fumble. And Nebraska players are running off of the bench onto the field only the play’s not been whistled dead and a Michigan breaks lose and he’s running down the sideline and here comes this Cornhusker – one of the guys who’d been on the bench – to tackle the Michigan player before he can score. And the refs miss it. No flags are thrown. Michigan doesn’t get another chance.
Almost one of the great plays of all time.
Then there’s The Play. It’s Stanford versus Cal. Stanford’s got the game won. They just need to kick off and prevent a return and the clock will expire. There’s a short little squib kick. There’s a short little squib kick. A Cal player catches the ball, then he laterals it back, and back. And there’s a tackle, but wait the ball’s still live and there’s another guy running with the ball. And the Stanford band has crashed the field to celebrate the victory and suddenly another Cal player has the ball and he is dodging Stanford players and the band and the runner SCORES! Taking out the trombone player as he does.
But that is no longer the greatest miracle play in football history.
I refer you to last Saturday afternoon. San Antonio’s Trinity University is in Mississippi playing a key Division III game against rival Millsaps. There are two seconds left on the clock. Trinity needs a touchdown to win the game.
You can see the play here.
Note that there will be 15 laterals. And that seven different players will touch the ball. The play will last 62 seconds. Riley Curry, who scores the touchdown, touches the ball four times. He’s also from the Houston area, having played his high school football at Fort Bend Clements. The Trinity QB, Blake Barmore, the guy who starts the play, is also from Friendswood.
So, the next time you’re asked if you believe in miracles, remember Trinity University, then say yes.
Because it’s so good, here it is again.
And I guess it’s a good thing these guys aren’t playing the Texans anytime soon, because it would sure be embarrassing for the Texans to lose to a Division III team. -- John Royal