It’s finally August, which means that the college football season will start later this month.
Just in case you’re more concerned with a pennant race, Paul George’s gruesome injury, or what’s going to happen in the next episode of Falling Skies, here are seven more plays to get you fired up for college football season. This week, I’m including some of my favorite TDs that weren’t featured in 7 Plays that Will Fire You Up for College Football Season, 7 Greatest Walkoff TDs, or 7 Season Changing Plays.
7 – Carlos Hyde’s Monster effort (Iowa at Ohio State, 2013)
While many runs in college football’s storied history might have been more flashy, this play earns a spot on the list because of the extra effort involved.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Ohio State and Iowa were deadlocked at 24. On 1st and 10 from the Hawkeye 19, Hyde took the handoff and got hit at the 10-yard line. The initial tackle attempt knocked him backwards, and would have left him short of the first down. However, Hyde continued to keep his legs moving, regained his balance, and leapt over a would-be Iowa defender on the way to end zone.
This is exactly the type of hustle that makes college football so exciting.
6 – The Non-Tebow Jump Pass (Syracuse at Cincinnati, 2012)
Sometimes it only takes a simple spark to ignite a fire.
That’s what happened here. Things weren’t going well for the Bearcats at this point. The team entered the game suffering back-to-back losses, and had just fallen behind Syracuse 10-7. Faced with a 4th and 2 from the Orange 37, Butch Jones elected to go for it. He called what appeared to be a lead play right into the heart of the Cuse D, which had seemingly had Cincinnati tailback George Winn stopped well short of the sticks.
But he wasn’t down yet. Just when it looked like he was going to hit the line of scrimmage, Winn pulled the rock into this left arm and lobbed it to a wide open Travis Kelce, who took the ball to the house to a give the Bearcats a 13-10 lead. The play energized a struggling UC offense, which would go on to score 35 points, and eventually capture a share of the then-Big East title.
Had the ‘Cats captured the conference title outright, this play would have been on last week’s list.
5 – Please Put Your Hands Together For Mister Randy Moss (Marshall vs. Army, 1997)
Although most college football junkies knew who Moss was at the start of the 1997 season, the general public didn’t know who he was heading into this contest.
However, after this spectacular catch-and-run, no one doubted that Marshall had a future NFL superstar on its roster. Backed up deep in its own territory on 3rd and 6, the Herd called a quick screen to Moss. After catching the initial pass, Moss made two Army defenders miss, hurdled another, and stiff-armed a fourth defender, before outrunning the rest of the Black Knights to the end zone.
Moss would go on to win the Biletnikoff Award that year, guiding Marshall to a MAC championship in its first season as a Division 1-A member.
4 – Herschel Walker Mows Over Bill Bates (Georgia at Tennessee, 1980)
On this play, Walker made a lasting impression on college football.
Like Moss, no one knew much about Walker heading into the season opener against Tennessee. Back then, true freshmen very rarely started, and usually didn’t have much of an impact on the team’s success.
But Herschel was no ordinary freshman.
This 16-yard TD gallop shows exactly why. Taking the handoff deep in the backfield, Walker cut back into the open field. After breaking an initial arm tackle, Walker gained speed and flattened Bates, a sure tackler, who went on to play 15 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
Not a bad effort for his first career TD.
The memorable run was a sign of great things to come for UGA that season. Led by Walker, who puzzlingly finished third in the Heisman Trophy race behind George Rogers and Hugh Green, the Bulldogs would go on to win their only national championship under Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley.
3 – Crabtree’s Catch (Texas at Texas Tech, 2008)
In 2008, Texas Tech was a lot like Rodney Dangerfield in that it was looking for some respect.
Crabtree’s heroics earned it for the Red Raiders.
At first, it didn’t look the game would be decided by a touchdown. After all, the Red Raiders were within Matt Williams’ field goal range. One more completion would give him a easy chip shot for the win.
However, it wouldn’t come down to a game-winning kick. On 2nd and 10 with eight ticks remaining on the clock, Graham Harrell hit Crabtree near the sideline. Rather than step out of bounds, he fought off two Longhorn defenders and raced across the goal line, giving Tech the upset over the top-ranked team in the country.
While the Red Raiders would ultimately miss out on the Big 12 Championship Game behind Oklahoma, the victory put Mike Leach and the program back on the map.
2 – Tommie Frazier’s Run (1996 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Florida vs. Nebraska)
This run doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves because the Cornhuskers had such huge lead at the time.
With that said, Frazier’s effort is arguably the greatest run in college football history. Running the triple option to the right side of the field, Florida looked to have stopped Frazier after a ten-yard gain. However, Frazier kept his legs moving, breaking seven Gator tackles en route to a 75-yard TD run. The score gave Nebraska a 49-18 lead, crushing any chance of a UF comeback.
This electrifying run was just the final highlight in Frazier’s storied career, in which he led the Huskers to an amazing 33-3 record in games he started.
1 – Magical Manziel (2013 Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Duke vs. Texas A&M)
Say what you want about his off-the-field behavior, but Manziel was the most exciting quarterback in college football history. With apologies to Michael Vick, no signal caller was more dangerous with the ball in his hands than Johnny Football
Just ask the Blue Devil defenders, who thought they had him stopped for a loss on this play.
Down 38-17 with just over 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, Manziel knew he had to get the Aggies in the end zone to move within two scores. After being forced out of the pocket, Manziel jumped over a defender, looking like he’d be stopped at the line of scrimmage. But, just as he always does, Manziel managed to keep the play going, eluding the Duke pass rush and finding a wide open Travis Labhart for an easy six. The TD fired up A&M, which would go on to win the game, 52-48.