I love it when football teams try gutsy things. I love it less when those things do not work, like this Memphis fake field goal attempt against UCLA on Saturday:
Memphis was up a field goal in the final three minutes, and the Tigers were positioned to put the Bruins away with a touchdown. A field goal would only do so much good against UCLA’s star QB, Josh Rosen, who had plenty of time to mount a touchdown drive and make a six-point Memphis lead be no different than a three-pointer.
The good news? Rosen didn’t do that. Memphis’ defense made a stop, and the Tigers went on to a thrilling win, 48-45. So they can laugh about this after a great victory.
This play looked like it had a chance, but it ultimately didn’t.
I think the “holder flips the ball to a running kicker, who chucks it to a man running downfield” play is cool. I’ve used it in Madden several times. But this was a true freshman kicker, Riley Patterson, who in retrospect definitely didn’t have the arm to get this ball where it needed to go. The Bruins hung back, so there was no shot.
The chances this play worked depended on completely fooling UCLA, but the situation was one where the Bruins had to be on high alert, because a touchdown or first down would’ve effectively ended the game. It turned out they were aware of the possibility.
Memphis coach Mike Norvell gets credit for trusting his players. He probably did it a bit too much here, but given that his team just notched a huge win, it’s forgivable.