Duke and Miami battled each other in a college football game Halloween night, which had a totally bizarre ending.
Miami trailed 27-24 with six seconds left in game, meaning any kickoff return would have to go for a touchdown for Miami to win. In these situations, it’s not too unusual for the trailing team to move down the field as if it were a rugby game. They cannot pass the ball forward and advance it, but they can pass backward or laterally.
In a college football game back in 1982, California beat Stanford on a kickoff return on the final play of the game lateraled five times. (Joe Starkey is the announcer going berserk at the end of the play, having never seen a finish like that, nor had anyone else up to that point.) Miami lateraled the ball a whopping eight times, and at one time backed themselves up to nearly their own goal line. Despite what appeared to be at least two blocking in the back penalties the officiating crew missed (you have to block the front side of an opposing player, blocking the side or the back is illegal when caught), the touchdown stood. Miami “hit the slot machine” and pulled off a 30-27 win.
Allen Bestwick’s call of the touchdown on ESPN was EXACTLY how you should call such a play, in my opinion. He reminded the viewers what was at stake during the play, and when it looked like Miami had the touchdown, he mainly let the pictures tell the story, providing minimal commentary of it which explained the significance of the event transpiring. Who says he can’t call a football game?
It’s a beautiful play when it’s pulled off, but those times are incredibly rare.