CFB’s Top 5 Plays of the Year


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Ben Auten and Nate LeRoy

After another crazy season of college football, the national championship game has been decided, which will match up the Alabama Crimson Tide against the undefeated Clemson Tigers. With the game being less than a week away, let’s take a look back at the most exciting, crazy, and unbelievable plays of the 2015-2016 season. We will be releasing #5 today, and will count down to #1, leading up to the title game. Below is a schedule of the release date of each play.

#5: 1/5/16

#4: 1/6/16

#3: 1/7/16

#2: 1/8/16

#1: 1/11/16

So, let’s get started as we begin with number 5.

We begin in Wallace-Wade Stadium in Durham, NC in what was one of the best ACC games in a long time, as a struggling Miami team went on the road against Duke. The Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead and were ahead 24-12 with just under six minutes left in the game. Then, the Blue Devils came roaring back, scoring on consecutive drives, and taking a 3 point lead with just 6 seconds left in the game. Miami would need a miracle on the ensuing kick off if they were to leave Durham with a victory, and they did just that, disappointing all 13 of the Duke fans present that night.


Number 4 is a play that shook the world, one almost as shocking as the famed Auburn-Alabama “Kick Six”. In-state rivals, Michigan and Michigan State traded scores until late in the game, after two Kenny Allen field goals put the Wolverines up by nine with a little under ten minutes remaining. Then, the Spartans stormed back with a touchdown on a two-play, 79 yard drive. However, it seemed that the comeback would be all for naught as the Wolverines defense stopped the Michigan State offense on two consecutive drives, and had appeared to ice the game on offense. On 4th down and 2, Michigan lined up to punt with just 10 seconds left, and then the unexpected happened, prompting the Big House to be filled with 100,000 Surrendering Cobras.

Most of you will probably argue that this was the iconic play of the college football season; so how did it fall to #4 on this list? Well, this list counts down the best, not the luckiest or most memorable moments of the year, and this play did not have near as much skill as it did luck.


Coming in at #3 is another ACC matchup that came down to the final play. This time we head to Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, to the home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. On a Saturday night in late October, 9th ranked Florida State came to town to try to ruin GT’s homecoming game. However, the Yellow Jackets weren’t about to let that happen. Behind a solid defense that kept Seminoles HB Dalvin Cook in check, and an option offense that baffled the Seminoles defense all night, Georgia Tech had tied the game with a 35 yard field goal with just 54 seconds left. But that appeared to be too much time for a FSU offense that only needed a few first downs to get in the range of All-American field goal kicker Roberto Aguayo. The ‘Noles got the ball down to the 39 yard line, and Aguayo lined up for a 56 yard field goal attempt, well within his range. It seemed the Yellow Jackets upset bid would come up short, and then this happened.


#2 is a fantastic play from a late-night Pac-12 game featuring 15th ranked Stanford and 16th ranked UCLA. Kevin Hogan and Stanford hopped out to an early lead and were dominating 35-17 when they came out of the halftime tunnel. On the very first drive of the second half, Stanford lined up in the wild card formation on UCLA’s 41 yard line, and then ran a trick play for the ages, capped off by Cardinal WR Francis Owusu’s catch of the year.

Stanford went on to win the game 56-35 en route to dominating the Pac-12 this season. For those who say “Nothing good ever happens past midnight”, Francis Owusu just proved you wrong.


Finally, we have made it. For all the Clemson and Alabama fans that have been nervously waiting for this night, your time has finally come. That also means it’s time to release the #1 play of the year, so let’s go back to an early November game between the visiting Arkansas Razorbacks and the 18th ranked Ole Miss Rebels. This game as well as this play didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved, as it rightly earned the top spot in the countdown. Whether that was because the game came on the same day as #2 Alabama vs.#4 LSU, #1 Clemson vs. #16 Florida State, and #8 TCU vs. #14 Oklahoma State, or whatever the reason may be, don’t overlook this miraculous play in Oxford, MS. In what turned out to be a high scoring, back-and-forth affair between the Razorbacks and the Rebels, the game headed to overtime with the score knotted at 45. Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly, who totaled 478 yards and 6 TDs, led the Rebel offense onto the field to begin overtime where he capped off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run. That meant Arkansas QB Brandon Allen, who finished the day with 442 passing yards and 6 TDs, needed to lead the Razorbacks offense into the endzone to keep the upset bid alive. After a personal foul penalty on Arkansas and three incompletions, Allen and co. were looking at a 4th and 25 and it seemed the Rebels were going to survive. Then, this happened.

I can vividly remember first seeing this play on SportsCenter that night, and being in complete disbelief. First of all, the presence of mind by WR Drew Morgan to realize he had no chance of getting the 1st down and just heaving the ball across the field. Then, the presence of mind and awareness by RB Alex Collins to pick up the loose ball, realizing he had the best chance to gain the 25 yards, and then to simply pick up the blocks and find a way to keep the game alive. It truly epitomized the quote, “keep playing until the whistle blows”. If you don’t know, Arkansas went on to score a TD on the very next play and decided to go for two and the victory, where Allen found his way to the endzone  and left the Rebel fans stunned in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.


That wraps up our countdown of the Top 5 College Football Plays of the Year. I hope you’re as excited as we are for tonight’s game! All In or Roll Tide? We’ll soon find out.

*All video credits to YouTube