It has been a season of innovation for special teams units across the country. However, as with most change, it has come in fit and starts. There have been punters rolling out and throwing 20-yard passes. There have been spectacular failures on plays so inexplicable that they almost defy explanation. But Division 3 University of St. Thomas earns the prize so far for “Play Least Likely to Succeed That Somehow Succeeded and Blew Everyone’s Mind in the Process Award”.
For those of you unfamiliar with University of St. Thomas (UST), it is a university in St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota with an undergraduate enrollment of 6,234 students. It also has graduate programs comprised of 3,995 students, 879 academic staff, 1,041 administrative staff, an endowment of $458 million, and the outstanding mascot of Tommie the Tomcat. All of the above information was gleaned from Wikipedia, as I knew absolutely nothing about the school prior to witnessing arguably the most unlikely successful fake extra point in history.
UST took a 6-3 lead early in the game against Carleton College. They set up for the extra point in standard formation:
IT’S A FAKE EXTRA POINT!
The Carleton safeties do their job and slide over to the left of the frame, putting themselves in good position to defend a play. St. Thomas likely scouted the Carleton special teams unit prior to this matchup and saw this on film. Dowdle receives the snap and turns to the kicker:
He fakes a two-handed pitch, whose dreams of scoring two points instead of one are dashed in a heartbreaking moment that kickers everywhere will understand. The Carleton safeties have the potential pitch read perfectly – except that the play is not coming in their direction.
On the right side of the frame, the UST wing takes off for the corner of the end zone, taking a third defender with him, while tight end Matt Christenson (#86, blue circle) struggles to get off his block on the line of scrimmage.
This is the most beautiful, most horrific, happiest, saddest, best, worst pass in the history of special teams. Words do not do it justice. It makes absolutely no sense. It travels a mere thirteen yards forward, and is nearly 15 feet in the air at its pinnacle. Everything about it screams that it should not work for one of a million reasons – a blind pass, no accuracy, general defensive awareness, gravity, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle – just about anything else you can find in either a playbook or science textbook since this play breaks every rule of football and physics in a span of three seconds:
The crowd goes wild. Go Tommies. Watch the whole thing here on youtube.
Don’t put this in your own playbook. You only get this lucky once.
Follow Chuck on Twitter @ITP_ChuckZ.
Chuck Zodda knows the importance of staying in your lane, how to fake a punt return, the humanity of punters, proper placekicking technique and the Jets.
All video and images courtesy USTFootballMediaMan.