Monday, December 26, 2011
Stanford Top 10 moments: No. 2
By Kevin Gemmell
With one game left to play we're taking a look back at some of the memorable moments/series of moments from Stanford's 2011 season. Some were individual plays, others were a series of plays or games as a whole that were significant to the season.
No. 2: TWO HANDS, TWO CATCHES
Setting the scene: Let's go back to the UCLA game again, shall we? The Cardinal's defense had just stuffed UCLA on the goal line (Top 10 moment No. 5, for those of you keeping track at home). It starts off like any drive beginning on the 1-yard line -- a fullback dive to Geoff Meinken that gets 6 yards and a little breathing room. Then Andrew Luck goes to work.
A couple big passes to his tight ends, a few nice runs by Stepfan Taylor and eventually it's first-and-10 at the UCLA 28. And Luck is about to have, perhaps, his most iconic moment of the season with the one-handed catch. But five plays later, Coby Fleener (in my humble opinion) one-ups the quarterback with a one-handed snag of his own.
Why it's memorable: First, Luck's catch was memorable because, as previously mentioned, it was iconic. A leaping Luck with an outstretched arm hauling in the pass as the toes slide inbounds, followed by a dramatic fall and slide -- what's not to love? And for those who weren't at Stanford Stadium that day -- the roar from the crowd when the initial out-of-bounds call was reversed was explosive. The Stanford sidelined erupted and Luck flashed a big smile. It might be the most replayed 13-yard nonscoring reception in the history of football.
Fleener's catch was something special as well. The Cardinal had just been backed up 15 yards following an offensive pass-interference call on Zach Ertz. So it's second-and-goal at the UCLA 18. Luck takes the snap out of the shotgun and is hit just as he releases the ball. It goes a little high and Fleener snatches it out of the air with his right hand -- on the cone of the ball -- and he never brings his left hand up. He simply brings it down in his mitt, eyeballs the defender on the ground for half a second, and then calmly flips the ball to the official. YouTube it and watch it. For my money, it's the best individual play of the season.