Top 5 Trick Plays in College Football History

By Jaclyn Harris

April 1, 2014

One of the best things about college football is when the unthinkable happens – when a play so big takes place that it dramatically impacts the momentum of the game and brings the score close. Trick plays run a high risk factor as they’re extremely difficult to execute and they’re only used in moments of dire need.

But that’s what make them so fantastic! They can completely change the course of the game, for good or bad, depending on how successfully they are performed. There have been plenty of epic trick plays in college football, but there’s no denying that the best ones are the plays called in the final minutes of the game or in the stress of overtime.

Take a look at the college football trick plays that made the top five on our list! And if you think we missed some, be sure to tell us in the comments below!

5. Michigan State’s Fake Field Goal against Notre Dame – 2010

This match-up was low scoring in the first half with both Michigan State and Notre Dame scoring one touchdown. However, the second half took a turn with six TD’s being scored, sending the game into overtime. Notre Dame’s David Ruffer nailed a 33-yard field goal to put the Fighting Irish in a 31-28 lead, but Michigan was not down for the count.

Notre Dame forced them into a 46-yard field goal that would send the game into double OT, but Michigan State had another plan – a fake field goal trick play! QB Aaron Bates completed a 29-yard pass to TE Charlie Gantt for the game winner!

4. Presbyterian College’s Bounce Pass against Wake Forest – 2010

This trick play took place during Presbyterian’s first ever game against a BCS team. QB Brandon Miley threw a slight backwards pass that bounced to WR Derrick Overholt. Overholt slapped the ball when he received it, making it appear that the play was dead and incomplete. Wake Forest’s defense paused while Overholt sent the ball for a 68-yard TD.

Presbyterian might not have walked away with the win, but they did walk away with a spot on our list of top trick plays!

3. Boise State’s Hook and Ladder against Oklahoma – 2007

Boise State’s first trick play of the game against Oklahoma also ranks high on our list. This isn’t a new trick play, by any means, but it was under the pressure that Boise State executed it that makes it so great!

The Broncos were faced with fourth-and-long with 18 seconds in the game, and the Sooners were leading by seven points. Jared Zabransky made the 15-yard pass to Drisam James who made the run across the field. James then lateraled the pass to Jerard Rabb who was making the same run from the opposite direction. Rabb completed the touchdown to bring the score to a tie, forcing the teams into OT.

2. Nebraska’s Fumblerooski against Miami – 1984

Not only was this trick play one for the record books, but it was also one of the best games of all time! The 1984 Orange Bowl was played between the Miami Hurricanes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Miami held the lead, but from the 19-yard line Nebraska’s lineman picked up an intentional fumble and ran for the touchdown!

Since a lineman can only pick up the ball from a fumble, everyone was in shock, including the announcers and cameramen! The Cornhuskers brought the score close, but then failed their two-point conversion allowing the Hurricanes to take the win, 31-30. Even though Nebraska didn’t win from this trick play, it was so epic, it had to make the list!

1. Boise State’s Statue of Liberty against Oklahoma – 2007

This trick play was the second play of an epic two-part performance! During the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State scored a touchdown in overtime to bring them within one point of the favored Oklahoma. Instead of going for the field goal to tie the game and bring them to double OT, the Broncos went for the two-point conversion.

With the second trick play of the night, Zabransky hiked the ball and made the motion to throw the ball to his right, but instead handed it back with this left hand to running back, Ian Johnson. Johnson then made the run into the end zone to bring in the win for Boise State!

Boise State’s performance also made our list of Top 7 Moments from the BCS Era! Take a look at the other match-ups on the list»

See the Trick Plays Unfold at the 2015 College Football Playoff!

There is nothing comparable to watching a great match-up in college football, but it’s even better when the stakes are high! And when the stakes are high and the score is close, the game runs a high risk for trick plays and incredible outcomes!

And where are the highest stakes with the toughest competition this year? At the 2015 College Football Playoff! With Official Ticket Packages including access to ultimate tailgates inside a premium hospitality area, the best seats in the house, and plenty of exclusive inclusions, there is no better way to see the bucket list games of the season!

Get more information on how you can be there for the first ever College Football Playoff!


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