College football: Best Hail Marys of 2015
The second season of the College Football Playoff era has definitely been one to remember. From blocked kicks to smooth lateral moves, pitch backs to wild throws, I don't think any sports fan will forget the highlights of this season anytime soon. So, with only bowls and playoff games remaining in a season for the ages, NCAA.com looks back at the best of 2015. Here are six of this season's greatest Hail Marys:
In Week 1, BYU, trailing by one point to Nebraska, had to rely on their backup quarterback Tanner Mangum to try for the endzone from just shy of the Husker 40. However, Mangum had to evacuate the pocket and ended up right on top of the 50 as he heaved the Cougars last chance into the air, and Mitch Mathews pulled down the ball into the endzone despite being surrounded by red jerseys to begin what would become one of the craziest seasons of college football anyone has ever seen.
The very next week, the Cougars of BYU find themselves in another precarious situation late in the game. Down three to Boise State with 45 seconds left in the game, Tanner Mangum stepped up yet again to deliver a 35 yard strike to the endzone and found his target. The phrase "Mangum Magic" was born, and we all began to wonder if there was something more to BYU this year.
Week 2 had more excitement up in Charlottesville, Virginia, as the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish visited the Virginia Cavaliers. The 0-1 Cavs were leading, but the Irish mounted a threatening comeback. However, it seemed it was too late when star ND quarterback Malik Zaire left the game with a season-ending injury. But, backup QB Deshone Kizer was able to step in without a single hiccup. With less than 20 seconds left in the game, Zaire launched a 39-yard pass to Will Fuller for his first Notre Dame touchdown.
This is a different kind of Hail Mary. It didn't win a game; it didn't grab a lead. It didn't even tie up the score. But, it's still a spectacular play. Tulsa was a little outmatched when No. 18 Memphis came to town, and the Golden Hurricane were trailing 35-14 as the first half wound down. Tulsa wouldn't go gently into that good night, however, and Hurricane QB Dane Evans tossed a 46-yard bomb to Keyarris Garrett to cut the Tigers lead to 14 as the clock hit all zeros. But, Memphis would maintain that lead and win the ball game 66-42.
Here's one out of Division II. Stonehill was trailing 17 points to LIU Post with only two minutes remaining on the clock, but the Skyhawks would rally to cut the Pioneers lead to four. With only five seconds left, Stonehill recovered an onside kick at the LIU 41, and Skyhawks QB Matt Foltz delivered a bomb all the way down to Corey White in the endzone to shock the Pioneers 40-37.
While this one is only from about 10 yards out, the miracle factor in this pitch and catch earns it a spot on this list. No. 3 TCU, trailing Texas Tech by four, finds themselves at fourth and goal with 26 seconds left in the game. Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin is flushed out of the pocket and heaves a pass from beyond the 10 to his favorite target Josh Doctson. However, Doctson only gets a hand on the ball, but Aaron Green caught the deflection as it sailed out of bounds and tapped both his feet in the end zone to seal the game-winning score.