College football: 7 of the greatest trick plays of all time
What makes a trick play memorable? Is it the circumstances surrounding it? The teams involved? The timing?
Whatever it may be, there have been plenty of trick plays over the years that stick with us. Here are some of the best in college football history.
Les Miles fake field goal- 2007 vs. South Carolina
Fake field goals have been a signature for Les Miles. It's hard to pick just one but the fake field goal pulled off against South Carolina is hard to beat. The Tigers were ahead, 14-7, and appeared ready to attempt a 32-yard field goal. When Matt Flynn received the snap, he flipped a no-look pass over his back to kicker Colt David who sprinted 15 yards into the end zone. LSU went on to win the BCS National Championship and it wouldn't be the last time Miles called for a fake. There's a reason he's called the Mad Hatter.
Nebraska's "Fumblerooski"- 1984 Orange Bowl
Many remember the 1984 Orange Bowl for Nebraska's 2-point conversion that would have given it the win over Miami. Instead, the Hurricanes won their first-ever national championship to jump start the program's dynasty. But the successful "fumblerooski" play by the Cornhuskers is just as unforgettable. Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill let the snap drop onto the ground and allowed lineman Dean Steinkuhler to scoop up the intentional fumble and score. The play sparked a comeback for Nebraska before it ended on the failed 2-point conversion. While the play technically isn't allowed in college football anymore, the fumblerooski still stands the test of time as an original trick play.
Presbyterian "Bounce Pass"
As a distant cousin to the fumblerooski, Presbyterian College fooled Wake Forest with the bounce-pass fumble in 2010. Presbyterian's quarterback bounced the ball into the ground, which seemed to make the play dead. But what the Demon Deacons didn't realize was the pass was thrown backwards and therefore the ball was still live. Hats off to wide receiver Derrick Overholt, who really sold the fake incomplete pass and threw the pass on the money for the touchdown. That is perfect trickery if you confuse your opponents enough that they just stop playing.
Oregon's Fake Statue of Liberty- 2007 vs. Michigan
Oregon is known for its massive playbook and one variation the Ducks can was on full display against Michigan in 2007. The Ducks led, 18-7, in the second quarter and had already used a Statue of Liberty play. Michigan may have thought it could expect the play again. But instead of handing it off to Jonathan Stewart, quarterback Dennis Dixon decided to keep it behind his back and ran it in himself. Dixon not only tricked the Wolverines' defense, he even fooled announcer Brad Nessler with the trickery. Well done, Dixon.
Michigan State OT fake field goal- 2010 vs. Notre Dame
What better time to pull out a trick play than when the game is on the line? That's exactly what Michigan State did in 2010 in its overtime game against Notre Dame. Trailing, 31-28, the Spartans looked like they were OK with sending the game into double overtime with a 46-yard field goal. Placeholder Dan Bates took the snap and heaved it down field to a wide open Charlite Gantt, who caught the game-winning 29-yard touchdown. Notre Dame and the fans at Spartan Stadium were in shock. Sparty coach Mark Dantonio referred to the play as "Little Giants" because the team named trick plays after movies.
Boise State's Hook and Ladder and Statue of Liberty- 2007 Fiesta Bowl
In one of the biggest upsets during the BCS era, Boise State pulled off not one but two of the greatest trick plays in its 43-42 win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. After the Sooners took the lead on a pick-six, Boise State ran a hook and ladder trick play on 4th-and-18 with just 10 seconds left on the clock to force overtime. Quarterback Jared Zabranksy checked down the field to Drisan James who lateraled the ball to Jerard Rabb for the game-tying touchdown. But they didn't stop there. The Broncos went for the 2-point conversion and it paid off thanks to the Statue of Liberty play.
Zabransky once again had the ball in his hands and pulled off the fake pass perfectly and allowed Ian Johnson to sneak behind his back and execute the Statue of Liberty. The finish is one of the most unforgettable in college football history.