The most insane finishes in college football usually occur in the games we least expect. Sure, there are exceptions like the "Kick Six" in 2013 or that Michigan State-Wisconsin game when Kirk Cousins threw that Hail Mary, but generally speaking, the truly wacky stuff happens in the wackiest games. This theory I just came up with earned some credence last night, when Tulane beat Houston in the most shocking way you'll see this season in college football.
With all eyes on the pile of trash that was Jaguars vs. Titans, over on ESPN Dana Holgorsen's Cougars raced out to a 28-7 lead. They wound up scoring just three more points on the night as the Green Wave, led by lefty quarterback Justin McMillan, scored 24 unanswered to take a 31-28 lead with 6:10 to go. Houston proceeded to go on its longest drive of the night, a 16-play, 68-yard slow march to the Tulane seven-yard line. The Cougs settled for a field goal to tie it at 31-31 with 21 seconds to play.
Houston then did what you'll see teams often do in this situation: squib kick. It ensures that the returning team has to field the ball, running time off the clock, and almost always the guy fielding the ball is a big, blocking tight-end type player that isn't very good at fielding a bouncing ball. The downside to this is that if the player is smart, he'll quickly scoop it, get some yards and get down quickly, getting his team in good field position to maybe take a few shots downfield and get a field goal.
Tulane wasn't going to mess with that, and head coach Willie Fritz called for a kneel and was prepared to head to overtime. Or, so Houston thought. The Green Wave had an all-time great trick up their sleeve--THE FAKE KNEEL:
Not only did it fake out the entire Cougar defense, but this call faked out ESPN play-by-play man Adam Amin and the rest of America as well. As crazy as it was, Amare Jones' scamper didn't even get them across midfield. But with one timeout remaining and 12 seconds to go, they still had a shot or two to get into field goal range. The very next play, this happened:
MADNESS! This was one of McMillan's seven completions on the night, and three of them went for touchdowns. This one was a STRIKE to Jalen McCleskey, who turned on the afterburners and got in the endzone, avoiding the dreaded college kicker needing to hit a clutch kick and probably snap hooking it situation. Afterward, McCleskey told ESPN's Molly McGrath that he saw his dad after the touchdown and his dad said "Grown men make grown plays in grown times." What a quote! Santana Moss would be proud of that spin-off.
It wasn't the only grown man play McCleskey made either. Check out this catch on 3rd and 14 from late in the third quarter:
McCleskey! Get this kid on #HeismanWatch.
I should note, for all the degenerates out there, that this shocking touchdown covered the 4.5-or-5-point spread for Tulane. An all-time dagger. One minute you're thinking OT, maybe Houston wins outright if you have money line, the next you're catching a nice fat L. Ouch. The win moves Tulane to 3-1 on the year, their only loss a respectable, 24-6 defeat to Auburn at Auburn. Their offense can flat out ball, but they'll probably need one or two more wins to creep into the AP Top 25. I'm going to jump on the bandwagon now anyway. Ride the Green Wave!