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South Alabama’s fake field goal ends in disaster, and a UCLA win

Fun Belt gonna Fun Belt

NCAA Football: South Alabama at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Fun Belt is gonna Fun Belt

A week after the Sun Belt delivered huge wins from Appalachian State over Texas A&M and Georgia Southern over Nebraska, it looked like the conference was going to deliver another win over a Power 5 team. South Alabama went on the road against UCLA and was in control in front of, well, let’s say a sparse crowd:

South Alabama led 31-29 with just over three minutes remaining, and were in possession of the football. They faced a 4th and 2 at the UCLA 22-yard line, on the 11th play of a long drive that began at the Jaguars’ own 10-yard line, and worked nearly six minutes off the clock. With their offense rolling, perhaps South Alabama would leave their offense on the field to pick up the final two yards and perhaps ice the game.

Or perhaps they would convert a field goal, giving them a five-point lead and forcing UCLA to score a touchdown to eke out the win.

Both solid options. Apparently, however, there was a third:

Rather than leave their offense on the field, or try and convert the short field goal (college kickers, we know) the Jaguars shift into an offensive formation and let holder Tanner McGee, a backup quarterback who last attempted a pass during the 2020 season, try and make a play.

He did not.

That opened the door for UCLA, who drove down the field on their ensuing possession to get into range for their kicker, who delivered:

South Alabama’s failed fake field goal brought to mind another fake kick from years ago, this attempted fake punt turned in by the Indianapolis Colts:

The win saw Kelly and the Bruins improve to 3-0 on the season, while dropping the Jaguars to 2-1, and sending them home wondering about what might have been.