Highlighting 10 of the season's memorable moments
College football is rarely lacking in excitement and the 2017 season provided its fair share of crazy plays. Just when fans think they’ve seen it all, stars like Josh Rosen, Malik Rosier and Trace McSorley produce jaw-dropping moments that dramatically alter the outcome of a game and — in some cases — an entire season.
Here’s a look at the good (USC’s punt return), the bad (crazy Western Michigan sister) and the ugly (Western Kentucky's punt) from the regular season.
10. The Hurdle
Week 8: UCLA 31, Oregon 14
Bolu Olorunfunmi's name is the only thing more impressive than his vertical leap. The UCLA tailback took flight against the Ducks by jumping on the back of Oregon DB Mattrell McGraw and flipping into the end zone. Perhaps Steve Alford and the Bruins' basketball team have a roster spot for a high-flying walk-on.
9. The Deflection
Week 10: Vanderbilt 31, Western Kentucky 17
Vanderbilt wide receiver Trey Ellis finished his collegiate career with just a single touchdown catch, although it was a memorable one. Arguably the most entertaining part of the play is when Western Kentucky’s Antwon Kincade gives the “incomplete” signal, only to turn around and see Ellis in the end zone.
Vanderbilt's crazy deflection touchdown reminded us of another famous play from 20 years ago... pic.twitter.com/1U2C87Abth— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 4, 2017
8. The Crazy Sister
Week 6: Western Michigan 71, Buffalo 68 (7OT)
If Western Michigan TE Donnie Ernsberger was unsure of who his biggest fan was, there should no doubt after what transpired in Buffalo on Oct. 7. Ernsberger caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in the first of seven overtimes, and his sister ran onto the field to join the celebration. Her efforts were rewarded with a 15-yard penalty and a police escort out of the stadium.
7. The Game-Winner
Week 4: Penn State 21, Iowa 19
QB Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions avoided a disastrous upset with a last-second touchdown to beat the Hawkeyes in a hostile road environment. McSorley threw a bullet — off his back foot no less — into a tight window, where JuWuan Johnson made the game-winning grab.
6. The Season-Saver
Week 6: Miami 24, Florida State 20
With the loss of Semionle QB Deondre Francois to a leg injury, the door was open for Miami to beat Florida State for the first time since 2009. Hurricane QB Malik Rosier led his team on a 75-yard drive in the final minute, tossing a 23-yard yard touchdown pass to Darrell Langham to escape with the win.
TOUCHDOWN! Malik Rosier finds Darrell Langham for what should be the game-winning score with 6 seconds left! Play was reviewed and upheld pic.twitter.com/lxZM812tFc— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) October 7, 2017
5. The Misdirection Punt Return
Week 12: USC 28, UCLA 23
USC returner Ajene Harris appeared to be camped under the ball, ready to return the punt – at least that's what the UCLA coverage team thought. It turned out that UCLA punter Stefan Flintoft had actually kicked to the right side of the field, allowing USC’s Michael Pittman to scamper for a 72-yard touchdown.
4. The Hail Mary
Week 3: Florida 26, Tennessee 20
Just weeks away from the one-year anniversary of JaJuan Jennings’ hail-mary grab against Georgia, Tennessee found itself on the opposite side of a stunner in Gainesville. Florida QB Felipe Franks hit Tyrie Cleveland with a 63-yard bomb in stride to steal the victory for the Gators.
OH MY GOSH FLORIDA HAIL MARY pic.twitter.com/XBZra3fL4n— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) September 16, 2017
3. The Fake Spike
Week 1: UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44
Several plays from Josh Rosen’s performance against the Aggies probably could have filled this article. However, Rosen's fake spike to win the game was the stuff of legend, bringing back visions of Dan Marino’s “Clock Play".
2. The Punting Debacle
Week 13: Florida International 41, Western Kentucky 17
Hilltopper punter Jake Collins is still (probably) trying to erase the night of Nov. 24 from his memory. While it doesn’t top our craziest play of the season, Collins’ mistake and FIU’s subsequent touchdown turned out to be a play for the ages – and not in a good way.
1. The 3rd-and-93?
Week 2: Mississippi State 57, Louisiana Tech 21
There really aren’t any words to describe this play, but the memory of it will certainly live on for seasons to come. The 87-yard loss was the longest negative play in an FBS game since 2004.
3rd and a million for La Tech— Mo (@Boston_Mo) September 10, 2017