The 8-Lateral Touchdown Win
Achieving the impossible
It was a busy weekend jammed packed with kids activities, events and parties so football took a back seat to other priorities. Like many guys who enjoy their sports, I often take it in doses and set aside time to watch games of interest. And this weekend was just too busy. Yet, I did manage to fit in half of the final quarter of some Temple football – because they are just having the season of their lives! And everyone likes an underdog especially one that is undefeated and playing a highly ranked team. Notre Dame just happened to bring the luck of the Irish with them. Many in Philly are still shouting “Go Temple” after the game even though they lost on Saturday night.
It was during the end of the Temple game when the announcers broke in with a college football league update. While I just moved my dad’s favorite team, the University of Miami, to the back burner for the rest of the season, they were front and center, Miami-style, making headlines. It wasn’t about their new interim coach or how they were mounting a larger loss than they experienced last week (a 58-0 loss last week was the worst in history for Miami and is just embarrassing for any fan).
This time it was good news. It was the unthinkable. Miami just came from behind in the final seconds of the game and WON. That alone made me pump my fist and congratulate the team through the screen.
What they showed next SHOCKED ME. It shocked many college football fans. Here’s a team that just had penalty after penalty called against them (some controversy about those calls against Miami) which gave Duke the go ahead score with seconds remaining. To Miami, it seemed like fate. More bad news dished to them. It would be at this point every Miami fan shook their head in disbelief and just sighed it away as another disappointment to the their season. I know my father did. But the game wasn’t over.
Miami’s only consolation was they weren’t shut out again this week and played a close game: 27-24 with Duke winning… but there was 6 seconds left!?!
Then the unthinkable happened. The wind shifted… there was a change of tides… The Hurricanes responded. Something was happening as the ball was kicked and bounced down the field into the hands of the Miami player who just blamed for their loss minutes prior.
The ball was caught… ran, tossed, ran, tossed, ran tossed… forward, forward, back, forward, back, back… to the 10 yard line… then STRAIGHT AHEAD THEY RAN and tossed it again, again, again… and again and right for the end zone. They took two steps forward, then a step back over and over again. It looked like a live pinball game of football players. In total, they lateraled the ball 8 TIMES back and forth, across the field. At any point, if one of the players was tackled, the game was over with no more time left to play. At any moment, if the ball was fumbled or tossed a player on the other team, the game was over. And if they tossed it the wrong way (forward not backwards), the game would be whistled dead, game over.
That wasn’t the case. They perfectly executed the play – AS A TEAM. They didn’t give up on the play or the game despite setbacks. They played until the final whistle blew. In just ONE PLAY, 46 SECONDS later, they crossed the finish line and WON THE GAME: 30-27.
But it wasn’t over. There was then TWO official referee reviews in the booth. Every lateral was reviewed to make sure they were true laterals and not forward passes. Then another review – UNDER REVIEW a second time for a possible knee touching the ground before the player lateraled the ball. Again, another reversal which would blow the play dead. Almost 10 minutes later: the play wasn’t overturned.
MIAMI WINS. GAME OVER.
The the interim coach, Coach Larry Scott, had this to share at the end of the game regarding his team and how they played & finished the game:
- Never give up.
- Never give in.
- It’s not over… you play until there are zeros on the clock.
- Who is going to fight?
- Who is willing to overcome adversity?
Well, the team responded – and gave everything they had.
NEVER GIVE UP!
It was an amazing testimony to their determination to play hard and win. They had a strong foundation. They overcame adversity. They remained focused. They pulled off the impossible. And they were crowned the WINNER.
Lesson learned: #NeverGiveUp
Note: While well after the game additional photography showed a Miami player’s knee was down, the referees still made the decision after reviewing their footage and the call from the referee on the field. Remember, it’s an action sport and while certain calls go one way or the other, it’s part of the sport. Perhaps a few other calls in the game were missed or went the wrong way. It’s never perfect.