Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The 10 plays that shaped the CFB season
By Gregg Found
There were 770 games played in the 2011 college football season. We give you the 10 plays that shaped the BCS Championship race.
1. Tyrann Mathieu returns fumble for TD
LSU 40, Oregon 27
Significance: These top-five teams were locked in a 6-3 game. The Tigers went three-and-out and punted, but Kenjon Barner fumbled the return at the three and LSU's playmaker snapped it up and went into the end zone for a momentum-shifting score.
2. Kirk Cousins completes 44-yard Hail Mary to Keith Nichol
Michigan State 37, Wisconsin 31
Significance: Wisconsin had its eyes on a perfect regular season and a spot in the title game. But after a last-second heave, ricochet, catch and then video review, that dream was dashed.
3. Oklahoma misses 28-yard field goal vs Texas Tech
Texas Tech 41, Oklahoma 38
Significance: The Sooners were preseason No. 1 and still undefeated, but trailed 31-7 at home. They mounted a comeback, but after Michael Hunnicutt's missed FG from 28 yards out there wasn't enough time left to overcome a 10-point deficit.
4. Tajh Boyd gets intercepted in the end zone
Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 17
Significance: Down 14 points, Clemson had just intercepted Georgia Tech, getting the ball at Georgia Tech's nine-yard line. But on the first play, Boyd was picked by Jemea Thomas, ending the Tigers' comeback and dashing their national-title hopes.
5. LSU’s Eric Reid intercepts Alabama at the 1-yard line
LSU 9, Alabama 6 (OT)
Significance: In a 6-6 game in the fourth quarter, LSU's Eric Reid wrestled the ball away from Alabama TE Michael Williams at the one-yard line for an interception, preventing what could have been the winning score. LSU would win it in overtime.
6. Boseko Lokombo picks off Andrew Luck and returns it for TD
Oregon 53, Stanford 30
Significance: This was Stanford’s last major obstacle to a perfect regular season. Down 16 points, Luck had Stanford driving. But the pick ended those hopes, putting the game out of reach and handing the Cardinal its only loss of the season.
7. Boise State misses 39-yard field goal as time expires
TCU 36, Boise State 35
Significance: Playing on the home turf where they had been dominant for so long, the Broncos went down a point after TCU made the gutsy call to go for two. But Boise drove down the field before Dan Goodale sailed his kick wide right as time expired and the Broncos were no longer unbeaten.
8. Brandon Weeden's pass intercepted in first play of second overtime
Iowa State 37, Oklahoma State 31 (2 OT)
Significance: The Cyclones came back from a 24-7 deficit to tie the game at 24 heading into overtime. But on the first play of the second overtime, Brandon Weeden was intercepted. Three plays later Iowa State scored to end Oklahoma State's dream.
9. Oregon misses 37-yard field goal as time expires
USC 38, Oregon 35
Significance: Even after their season-opening loss, the Ducks still had a shot at the BCS Championship. But USC, ineligible for postseason play, gave the Ducks a battle at Autzen Stadium. Down three, Oregon had the chance to send it into overtime. But Alejandro Maldonado missed a 37-yarder.
10. Robert Griffin III completes 34-yard TD pass with :08 left
Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38
Significance: Just like Oregon, Oklahoma still had a chance to sneak back into the title picture despite a loss. But Baylor's Heisman candidate Griffin shocked the Sooners with a game-winning touchdown pass with eight seconds left.
To see images of these plays, click here.