The college football season starts this week. A time of tradition, excitement, and the quest for the national championship. This season marks the debut of the playoff system, thus replacing the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
But let’s focus on the past for now. In fact, here is a list of some of the most memorable plays in college football.
1. The Miracle at Michigan (September 24, 1994): September 24, 2014 will be the twentieth anniversary of when Colorado was trailing Michigan 26-21, and the Buffaloes’ quarterback Kordell Stewart threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone on the game’s final play. The pass was deflected into the hands of his receiver Michael Westbrook, giving Colorado a 27-26 victory. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WCCLdf7rv8
2. Hail Flutie (November 23, 1984): November 23, 2014 will be the thirtieth anniversary of another game-winning Hail Mary touchdown. With just six seconds left, Boston College wide receiver Gerard Phelan caught a Doug Flutie pass in the end zone (over several defenders) to give the Golden Eagles a 47-45 win over Miami.
3. The Bluegrass Miracle (November 9, 2002): another Hail Pass touchdown pass on the last play of the game, this time it was LSU quarterback Marcus Randall throwing the ball from his own eighteen yard line. The pass was deflected by Kentucky defenders and into the hands of LSU receiver Devery Henderson around the fifteen yard line, who evaded the remaining defenders and gave LSU a 33-30 win. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bsJounJLYc
Similar plays have occurred in Kentucky football games- September 15, 2007 against Louisville (a 40-34 win for the Wildcats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tORe5-l75R0), September 11, 1993 against Florida (a 24-20 win for the Gators: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1TFthJbdYE). LSU also had a similar moment- January 1, 2005 against Iowa (a 30-25 win for the Hawkeyes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0OnvDbyGuQ).
4. Prayer at Jordan-Hare (November 16, 2013): another game-winning Hail Mary touchdown with less than a minute to go. This time it was Auburn and Georgia. After blowing a 37-17 lead, Auburn trailed Georgia 38-37. On fourth-and-eighteen, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw the ball 47 yards downfield, where it was tipped by Georgia defenders and into the hands of Auburn receiver Ricardo Louis, who took it into the end zone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQQmU6D2GfQ
5. Virginia’s 1995 finishes: a 18-17 loss to Michigan on August 26, 1995 (Virginia led 17-0, but Michigan rallied, and scored the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrwDVdwcxKg), a 33-28 victory over Florida State on November 2, 1995 (a goal-line stance gave the Cavaliers the upset over the Seminoles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByCwrGBfJek), and a 36-29 loss to Virginia Tech on November 18, 1995 (Virginia Tech scored to take a 30-29 with less than a minute to go, then on the game’s final play, a Virginia pass was intercepted by a Hokie defender, who returned for it for a touchdown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ylwfv1Dx98).
6. Red River Shootout defensive plays: a fourth-and-goal hit by Stoney Clark to give Texas a 17-10 win over Oklahoma on October 8, 1994 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivHQ487NWnA) and the Play by Roy Williams resulted in the ball being intercepted by Teddy Lehman, who practically walked into the end zone for a Sooners 14-3 win: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1MpHG5x6q0.
7. Nebraska’s touchdowns: a 75-yard touchdown run by Tommy Frazier against Florida in the Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 1996 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LHbZ3T4rzA), the Flea Kicker, in which Nebraska scored on the last play to send the game into overtime, resulting in a 45-38 victory over Missouri (November 8, 1997: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn7j-zJrbPk), a 95-yard touchdown run by Eric Crouch against Missouri on September 29, 2001 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVcxSeh3IQ4), and Black 41 Flash Reverse, resulting in a touchdown (and a 20-10 over Oklahoma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJtZYKIzzZE).
8. Statue of Liberty (January 1, 2007): Boise State could have tied the game after scoring in overtime, but they chose to go for the win, and did so, 43-42. It was one of several memorable plays in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwzjLQx2Ad0.
9. Kick Bama Kick (November 30, 2013): Alabama went for a field goal on the last play of the game, tied at 28-28 against Auburn. But the kicker’s 57-yard attempt felt short and into the hands of Auburn’s Chris Davis (who was positioned in the end zone) who returned it all the way for the game-winning touchdown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqIBNX0CXDc.
10. The Play (November 20, 1982): a Stanford field goal gave the Cardinals a 20-19 lead over California. With four seconds left on the clock, Cal took the kickoff, and through a series of laterals, scored the game-winning touchdown in what is perhaps the most memorable play in the history of college football: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfebpLfAt8g.
11. Notre Dame versus Michigan State (September 2006): down 37-21 in the fourth quarter, the Irish managed to come back to cut the lead to 37-33. On third and two, Spartan quarterback Drew Stanton threw the ball, but was intercepted by Terrail Lambert, who took it 23 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. With less than a minute to go, Lambert intercepted another pass that had been tipped twice and had bounced off the back of a Spartan receiver: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w0WItrYX2o