One of my favorite parts of any sport is watching trick plays, and that’s a major reason why I’ve enjoyed college football’s BCS Bowls over the years, as there have been some very cool ones in its brief history.
Of all the successful trick plays in BCS history, I’d have to name the following my top five:
5. Receiver to Receiver (Louisville Cardinals 24, Wake Forest Demon Deacons 13; 2007 Orange Bowl)
With the game tied 3-3 in the first quarter, Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm lateraled to receiver Patrick Carter, who fooled the Wake Forest defense by throwing deep across the field to Anthony Allen for a 21-yard touchdown. Carter could barely believe he pulled off the toss, remarking, “We’ve been working on it all year, but I didn’t think we would run it tonight. I couldn’t believe it when coach signaled it in the huddle.”
4. Receiver to Receiver II (USC Trojans 49, Illinois Fighting Illini 17; 2008 Rose Bowl)
The Trojans would score seven touchdowns in this Rose Bowl blowout, but their second score of the day was the most impressive. Quarterback John David Booty threw the ball backwards to Garrett Green, who then zipped the ball to an uncovered Desmond Reed. To conclude his 34-yard touchdown, Reed somersaulted into the end zone, drawing an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
3. Two Fake Kicks (Auburn Tigers 22, Oregon Ducks 19; 2011 BCS National Championship Game)
During its narrow BCS championship loss, Oregon still managed to run two successful fake kicks. The first one occurred after a second-quarter touchdown; the Ducks lined up for an extra point, but then holder Jackson Rice pitched the ball to kicker Rob Beard, who scampered in for two points. And in the third quarter, trailing 18-11, Oregon looked like it would punt on fourth down at its own 43. But Rice, who doubled as the team’s punter, actually passed to Marvin Johnson, who picked up a first down on the 11-yard gain.
2. Hook-and-Ladder (Boise State Broncos 43, Oklahoma Sooners 42; 2007 Fiesta Bowl)
The 2007 Fiesta Bowl saw all sorts of trick plays, though I would argue the second most spectacular happened at the end of regulation. The Broncos were down by seven, and had only 18 seconds to tie the game. Worse yet, they had a fourth-and-18 from midfield. However, they ran a “hook-and-ladder” play to perfection: quarterback Jared Zabransky completed a pass to Drisan James, who then scooped the ball to a trailing Jerard Rabb, who proceeded to take it the final 35 yards. All Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops could say was, “They hit it perfect.”
1. Statue of Liberty Play (Boise State Broncos 43, Oklahoma Sooners 42; 2007 Fiesta Bowl)
As amazing as the hook-and-ladder was, that same Fiesta Bowl had an even more impressive play to end the game. After the Sooners scored a touchdown in overtime, Boise State responded with a score of its own. But instead of going for the extra point, the Broncos decided to roll the dice and go for two to win the game. Zabransky took the snap, and faked a pass while sneaking the hand-off to running back Ian Johnson. This “Statue of Liberty” play fooled the Sooners and gave Boise State the win. You can watch this play here.
Floyd Saunders is a college football fanatic, and he closely follows the bowl games every year.