This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
College football is full of lots of ups and downs. One second, fans in any given stadium can be elated, jumping up and down screaming and the next be completely stunned. It is a part of what makes the sport so enthralling. Of course we always honor those moments that should have never happened, the Hail Mary’s, broken tackles and big hits, but it is time to show a little love to the fails. Here it is, the five greatest college football fails of all time.
No. 5 – The Play
What do you get when you have four seconds left on the clock, five lateral passes and an instate rivalry known as, “The Big Game?” The answer you get is one of the greatest college football endings of all time and the fifth greatest football fail.
The fail really wasn’t by any of the players other than the Stanford players that couldn’t make a tackle, but mostly on the Stanford band rushing the field thinking they had won the game. Stanford took the lead with four seconds left and then squib-kicked the ball to Cal, five laterals later and some great blocks the outcome of the game was Cal 25-20.
No. 4 – Cornhusker Tipping
The fourth greatest fail on our list happened earlier in 2014. Big 10 opponents Nebraska and Michigan State met in East Lansing Oct. 4. Captain Jake Cotton for the Huskers was set in his stance just waiting for the ball to be hiked, but it never came. Watching the game and replays you can see Cotton’s legs start to give out from underneath him, as they were tired from being set for so long. Eventually Cotton just rolled back on to his heels without anybody touching him, drawing a five-yard false start penalty. The Cornhuskers lost the game to the Spartans 27-22. Whether the false start by Cotton would have made a difference or not, we will never know; but come on, you need to keep on your feet as an offensive lineman.
No. 3 – Offensive line Reception
It was the 2011 Orange Bowl and the Virginia Tech Hokies were taking on the afore mentioned Stanford Cardinals. Toward the end of the first quarter, Andrew Luck and the Cardinal offense were backed up on their own five-yard line facing a third-down and 10. The Hokies brought lots of pressure and Luck being pulled down from behind released the ball, hoping to just get rid of it and avoid the safety.
Defensive lineman Antoine Hopkins deflected the pass at the line of scrimmage and in a strange turn of events, offensive lineman Derek Hall caught the ball while on the ground, resulting in a safety instead of letting it harmlessly hit the turf and letting his team punt from their own end zone. The mistake wasn’t costly for the Cardinal as they routed the Hokies 40-12.
No. 2 – Early Celebration
This happens all too early, just ask professional wideout DeSean Jackson. Twice he has made this mistake once in the High School All-Star game and once as a professional.
Kaelin Clay of the University of Utah took it to a whole new level against the Oregon Ducks last weekend in Salt Lake City. After losing their starting quarterback, back-up Travis Wilson stepped in and threw a 78-yard strike to Clay on a post route, it would have been a 79-yard touchdown, but celebrating prematurely, Clay dropped the ball at the one-yard line. Of course the Ducks picked up the ball and returned it from their own touchdown so instead of the Utes leading 14-0, they found themselves tied. The final score was 51-27 for the Ducks, but the momentum surely shifted when Clay celebrated early.
No. 1 – Bench Tackle
Unfortunately we are at the end of the list. The year was 1954 and the Alabama Crimson Tide were playing the Rice Owls in the Cotton Bowl. Rice’s star running back Dicky Moegle had daylight running up the side line with nobody in front of him; at least nobody that should have been on the field of play.
Tommy Lewis of Alabama decided to take matters into his own hands. Running from out of bounds and lowering his shoulder, he took Moegle down at the 40-yard line. Referees awarded Moegle the touchdown that may or may not have happened because 60 years later after reviewing the film, it looks like a Crimson Tide defender may have been able to stop Moegle legally. In the end, Rice won the game 28-6.
Honorable Mention –The Fake Heart Attack
No list would be complete without one helping of an honorable mention. The Arkansas State Red Wolves welcomed the Miami Hurricanes to town towards the beginning of September 2014. The Red Wolves decided to try and fake a punt after the snap wide receiver Booker Mays clutched his heart faking a heart attack. Mays fell over with hopes of distracting the Miami special teams from the fake, but they weren’t fooled and instead they intercepted the pass. Miami won the game 40-21, and clearly the fake heart attack should be pulled from the Arkansas State playbook.