The Greatest Scoring Play Ever in the Top 50 College Football Stadiums
There have been millions of scoring plays that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Many die-hard college football fans can remember where exactly they were when some of these earth-shattering plays occurred in college football.
Many games with great finishes may get thrown way out of proportion, but if they are critical ball games, they will always rank high on the list. If they happen to have postseason implications on the line, or better yet if they are in the postseason, there is a great chance we will see the unforgettable.
College football is amazing to watch for so many reasons, whether it be the upsets or thrilling finishes. Looking at the top 50 stadiums (no rank given here), these are your greatest scoring plays in their respected stadiums.
Texas A&M, 1999: Kyle Field
November 26, 1999
Known as the “Bonfire Game” (27 injured, 12 killed in the traditional bonfire for rivalry), the Texas Longhorns were upset at Kyle Field by the Aggies of Texas A&M (20-16).
From 2000-2005, Texas would not lose a single contest in the rivalry, so it was clear that the Aggies were fortunate to pullout this victory, or else it could have been a tough decade.
A&M was trailing 16-13 late in regulation but at the Longhorns' 21, quarterback Randy McGown hit Matt Bumgardner for the game-winning 14-yard score.
A defensive battle filled with 17 punts, the Aggies found a way to win but ended up finishing their season at 8-4.
For the Longhorns, this tough loss was the first of many to come as they ended the season on a brutal note (lost final three, including 27-6 loss to Arkansas in Cotton).
Michigan, 1991 & 1994: Michigan Stadium
November 23, 1991 (September 4, 1994)
Many may be wondering how Kordell Stewart's heave to Michael Westbrook (Miracle In Michigan) is not considered a greater score, but many (including myself) still debate and go back and forth seemingly every summer.
Desmond Howard striking the pose always has a special place in every Maize and Blue fan's heart, but certainly the dagger that Kordell Stewart threw to Michael Westbrook ranks right up there with it (for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat).
Desmond Howard, however, won the 1991 Heisman, and many believe this punt return was one of the greatest plays in the history of not only Michigan, but college football as well.
Striking the pose after he ran for an electric 91-yard punt return score was simply an event that will never be forgotten.
We could look at many other epic moment in Michigan history, but this play was the best. Period.
Penn State, 2002: Beaver Stadium
November 23, 2002
The game was a blowout, as the Nittany Lions routed Michigan State 61-7, but the touchdowns and achievements seen in this game were memorable.
There are seemingly hundreds of other choices for the so-called best-scoring play at Beaver Stadium, but running back Larry Johnson put on quite the display as he became the first-ever (and only, thus far) PSU back to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing.
The obvious choice might be the run which gave him the record, but that would have all been for naught had he not reached paydirt from 78 yards out beforehand.
The filthy run seemed too easy, but to have a memorable season capped off with a touchdown run shown above (8:10) makes it that much more spectacular.
Note: Penn State ended up going 9-4, including a Capital One Bowl loss
Colorado, 2001: Folsom Field
November 23, 2001
"Pick your poison" was the name of the game when the Nebraska Cornhuskers defense had to deal with the powerful and unstoppable Colorado ground attack.
Fast-forward to the fourth quarter after the obliteration was coming to a conclusion. After Chris Brown ran roughshod on the Blackshirt defense (finishing with 198 yards on 24 carries), he needed to hammer home the exclamation point.
He hit paydirt for a remarkable sixth time (12:20 mark) as Colorado ambushed Nebraska from start to finish, winning 62-36.
Colorado ended up losing to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, and Nebraska still ended up playing Miami, FL in the Rose Bowl (BCS title).
The Huskers were blasted, of course (37-14), but Colorado was as well, by a fabulous Ducks squad (38-16).
Wisconsin, 2003: Camp Randall Stadium
October 11, 2003
Lee Evans torched many Big Ten opponents during his long and injury-riddled career with the Badgers, but he battled and performed well in many games.
One of his more memorable games (MSU always tops the list, with 5 TDs), Evans and the Badgers upset the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio State ended up winning the Fiesta Bowl that season, with their only other loss to Michigan, but it was Lee Evans’ game-winning touchdown that ultimately cost OSU any shot of a BCS title.
The score came at the most opportune time, as it was tied at 10 with less than six minutes to go. On 2nd-and-9 from their 21, Wisconsin’s Matt Schabert heaved it up to a wide-open Lee Evans as he cruised in for the 79-yard touchdown.
South Carolina, 1984: Williams-Brice Stadium
"Black Magic" was quite the time for the Gamecocks, as they became the first team (coached by Joe Morrison) in school history to post double-digit victories.
Leading Florida State 17-7 entering the second half, SC just needed another drive to help control the game even more.
Instead of a drive, Raynard Brown took the opening kick for a 99-yard touchdown as the Gamecocks ultimately prevailed (they ended the season 10-2, No.11 in the AP Poll).
Oregon, 1994: Autzen Stadium
October 22, 1994
This great video goes over nearly every single vital touchdown in the Ducks' history, but none was filled with more excitement and importance than the pick six, that sealed the victory for freshman defensive back Kenny Wheaton.
Just barely hanging on (Oregon up 24-20), Damon Huard and the Huskies offense seemed poised to take the lead and pull off the road victory.
Instead, the freshman took a pick six back to the house, to secure the outstanding victory (the Ducks won 31-20, 2:07 mark).
The victory was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, since the Ducks ended up winning six straight games en route to their first Rose Bowl appearance in 37 years!
Tennessee, 2010: Neyland Stadium
September 19, 1998
There were great choices and it was too close to call for the Volunteers, so I chose a positive over a negative one.
Arguably the most explosive, electrifying and entertaining touchdown in Neyland Stadium’s history was the run by LaMichael James in 2010.
He broke three tackles, but essentially ran by the entire Tennessee defense on more than one occasion (everybody had a few cracks, but they all failed). The 72-yard run was insane and it just made the every jaw in the stadium drop in disbelief.
The happy and joyful news for the Vols came against the Gators in 1998, which was the first season of the BCS.
It may have only been a field goal, but this game-winning kick gave the Volunteers a 20-17 lead as the Gators had a chance to answer in overtime (had the Vols not have won this game, they would never have appeared in BCS title.
After picking up a quick first down, the Gators opted to tie the game with a kick of their own, but Collins Cooper went wide left as the then-No. 6-ranked Vols prevailed in Neyland Stadium over the second-ranked Gators.
Tennessee went on to run the table in the SEC and defeated Florida State in the very first BCS National Championship.
USC vs. Texas. 2006: Rose Bowl Stadium
January 4, 2006
It may be recent history, but still to this day it remains the greatest BCS (and perhaps bowl, period) game that has ever been played.
The legends who played in this game were memorable and the stakes on the line were something else.
USC was attempting its third straight (share of, at least) national title and the talented Texas Longhorns stood in their way.
There were many signature plays, but none was bigger than a 4th-and-5 at the Trojans' 5. Texas had the ball, and they trailed 38-33 (26 seconds left, 3:14 on video), and everybody knew Vince Young was going to create the play with his feet.
The Longhorns' magical season came down to one final play, and Vince Young capped off arguably the best virtuoso performance in the history of title games (467 total yards, 3 TDs).
He escaped some pressure in the pocket and coasted down the near sidelines for the game-winning 8-yard touchdown.
An instant classic filled with magical memories that will last for all eternity, whether you are USC, Texas or simply a college football die-hard.
Brigham Young 1990: Lavell Edwards Stadium
September 8, 1990
Ty Detmer and his No. 16-ranked BYU Cougars defeated the Miami Hurricanes 28-21.
Not only were they the defending national champions and thus the top-ranked team in the country, but nobody thought a team could dethrone them, since they were still the champs.
However, the Heisman Trophy winner that season was Ty Detmer, and while virtuoso performance was one thing, the final touchdown drive and pass will go down as one of the greatest moments in BYU history.
Detmer and his Cougars were tied at 21, but they were driving and looking to win the game as time was soon to expire. Detmer escaped pressure and hit his man (Mike Salido) for the game-winning 7-yard TD.
For the game, the Heisman signal-caller threw for 3 TDs and 406 yards!
Ohio State, 2006: Ohio Stadium
September 23, 2006
There have been many virtuoso performances and spectacular touchdown plays in the illustrious history of Buckeye football.
Only a select few moments will never be forgotten at the Horseshoe, and there truly are a ton of choices. However, the recent history that ultimately put the Buckeyes into the BCS National Championship ranks at the top for me.
Ohio State was the top-ranked team in the country, but they were struggling against No. 24 Penn State, as they led just 7-3 early in the fourth quarter.
Troy Smith was in shotgun but was quickly pressured as he spun all the way back to mid-field (right at the 50, from the 42 since the ball was spotted at 37).
Smith made real life seem like a dream or even a video game in that moment of time. He escaped the pressure as he rolled out to his right. Tim Shaw had him dead to rights, but Smith spun away from the pressure and heaved (from his own 48) a perfect spiral into the hands of Brian Robiskie.
It was the go-ahead touchdown, and the Buckeyes went on (they won the game 28-6) to play for the BCS title after a memorable undefeated regular season.
USC, 2005: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
November 26, 2005
Many will look at O.J. Simpson’s run in 1967 as the greatest scoring play (at home) in Trojans history, but Mr. Reggie Bush was the most entertaining performer in all of sports during his stay at USC.
The guy had an extra gear that nobody had seen in ages, and he made the crowd stand on its feet more times than most can remember.
The score was 34-28 heading towards the fourth quarter, but Bush took the handoff at the 50 as he glided down the near sideline. As a linebacker approached him, he stopped on the dime and immediately put it in cruise control, toasting the Bulldogs defense for a sensational 50-yard score.
Not only were the top-ranked Trojans in pursuit of their third straight championship in this game (at least split, second for BCS), but they needed every point that night against Pat Hill’s Bulldogs.
Reggie Bush went bonkers and then some, as he totaled for an absurd 513 all-purpose yards against a solid Fresno squad (ranked No. 16).
Bush won the Heisman Trophy (forced to vacate it years later, obviously) but he dazzled us that night (like so many other nights) as many of us have never seen before.
LSU, 1959: Tiger Stadium (Death Valley)
October 31, 1959
It was the top-ranked Bayou Bengals hosting the third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels, and this was the game where Billy Cannon brought back a punt to the house for the game-winning touchdown.
This was a defensive slugfest—as both team, with the best defenses in the country, allowed just one lone touchdown in their previous seven games—but the Cannon punt return was an all-time game-changer.
Cannon broke seven tackles after he fielded the punt from his own 11, but the lone game-winning touchdown ended up giving the Heisman Trophy to this LSU legend.
Note: Ole Miss did defeat LSU 21-0 in the Sugar Bowl, and the Tigers finished 9-2.
Florida, 2009: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
November 28, 2009
There are many great memories in the Gators' history, including a few from the Steve Spurrier era.
Winning BCS titles is what we all watch and play for ("for the love of the game" goes without saying), so at the end of the day certain memories can be skewed arguably.
However, Tim Tebow meant quite a bit becoming the first-ever sophomore in the history of the sport to win the Heisman Trophy.
When he finished his illustrious UF career, he had one final touchdown for his Gator faithful at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
It wasn’t an electric touchdown, since it was from just one yard out, but Tebow was arguably the best player in the BCS era for more reasons than one.
The kid did it all, and while many look at how he inspired his teammates, he also had a desire and special talent that he was able to use on the gridiron every single Saturday.
Notre Dame, 1992: Notre Dame Stadium
November 14, 1992
It would be the final meeting between the two until they met up again in 2006-2007. However, this infamous “Snow Bowl” had quite the finish between the eighth-ranked Irish and a solid Penn State squad (No. 21).
Notre Dame trailed Penn State in the fourth quarter 16-9, with under a minute to go.
Quarterback Rick Mirer found star running back Jerome Bettis for the two-yard touchdown pass that head coach Lou Holtz drew up (normally for two-point conversion plays) on a desperate fourth down.
Instead of settling for a tie game (there were no overtimes), Holtz dialed up another successful play, although it came down to Rick Mirer escaping and rolling away from pressure to find a diving Reggie Brooks.
The Irish went on to defeat the USC Trojans on the road in the following week before they ultimately defeated Texas A&M (28-3) in the Cotton Bowl.
However, it was the touchdown from Mirer to Bettis on fourth down that gave the program all the success in the world that season, as Lou Holtz put together a solid 10-1-1 season.
Florida State, 1988: Memorial Stadium
September 17, 1988
One of the more famous plays in the history of college football during the 1980s, the “Puntrooskie” helped solidify Florida State’s dominance.
The Noles were No. 10 in the country and Clemson was all the way up to third. Tied at 21 apiece in the final quarter, FSU had to punt the ball as they were deep in their own territory.
Well, Bobby Bowden was never known for keeping it conservative when his squad was nearly unstoppable. He pulled off arguably the greatest fake punt in the history of college football.
LeRoy Butler took the snap as the punter had jumped in the air and the other two punt protectors faked the entire Clemson defense out. Butler raced down the sidelines all the way to the Tigers' 5, and they would settle for the eventual game-winning field goal (24-21).
Although the fake punt wasn’t a touchdown, that was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
Clemson ended up winning the ACC (FSU was independent) with a solid record of 10-2, but who knows if they still would have lost to North Carolina State by a touchdown on the road a month later.
The tough loss thanks to "Puntrooskie" will always come back to haunt Tiger nation. If only they were able to come away with a tie or perhaps a victory over those darn Seminoles (FSU finished third in the final poll, Clemson eighth).
Washington, 1985: Husky Stadium
November 16, 1985
Trailing 17-13 in the fourth quarter, the Trojans looked like they had the game locked up as they were threatening to score once again.
The game was about to be put on ice, as USC was knocking on the door, but instead they coughed it up and the Huskies recovered a fumble at their own 2.
Chris Chandler had to complete a pass on 4th-and-2 to keep the drive going, but the improbable 98-yard drive ended with a touchdown pass to Moe Hill.
One of the greatest and most impressive finishes to a game had occurred at Husky Stadium (UW went 7-5, including a victory in the Freedom Bowl).
Georgia, 1965: Sanford Stadium
September 9, 1965
These Dawgs have had a ton of memories inside of Sanford Stadium as well, but let's all take a flash to the past.
It was September of 1965 and the Alabama Crimson Tide were the defending national champions, ranked No. 1 in the country.
However, UGA was ready for them. They were able to pull off thanks to Kirby Moore, who hit Pat Hodgson, who then flipped it to Bob Taylor for the 73-yard scoring scamper.
Tacking on the two-point conversion, Alabama could not muster a comeback and were upset 18-17. They would, however, bounce back just fine, winning every other game on the schedule in pursuit of their 1965 national title.
Nebraska, 2001: Memorial Stadium
October 27, 2001
There is nothing to say other than “Black 41 Flash Reverse.” Because quite frankly, this magical play helped knock off a super-talented Sooners squad.
In fact, Oklahoma was ranked second, whereas Nebraska was third.
Nebraska led 13-10 and was losing the battle of field position, so they pulled one last trick out of their bags to secure the win, which ultimately put them in the BCS National Championship.
The play was simple. Crouch pitched it to i-back Thunder Collins, who then pitched it to Mike Stuntz. Stuntz, on the run, threw it on the money to the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Eric Crouch (Nebraska won 20-10).
Virginia Tech, 2001: Lane Stadium
December 1, 2001
This game had quite the finish, although it did not give the Lane Stadium fans a happy ending.
The Miami FL Hurricanes were considered by many to be the greatest team ever in 2001, but the one game they nearly slipped up was against these Hokies in the regular-season finale.
Trailing 26-18, the Hokies got nearly everything they wanted. The Canes punted deep in their own territory, but classic “Beamer Ball” came through as Eric Green blocked the punt and Brandon Manning scooped it up for the score.
However, the Canes did prevail. The attempted two-point conversion failed and Miami survived, then throttling Nebraska in the Rose Bowl to put the exclamation point on their squad being one of the greatest that has ever taken the gridiron.
SEC Championship Game, 1992: Legion Field
December 5, 1992
It was the first-ever SEC Championship game and the undefeated Crimson Tide got everything they could ask for and more from the Florida Gators.
There were just over three minutes remaining in the game and the score was tied up at 21 apiece when Alabama defensive back Antonio Langham made the play of a lifetime.
He picked off Gators quarterback Shane Matthews for the game-winning pick six (21 yards, 8:42 mark on video).
Note: Alabama would defeat Miami, FL in the Sugar Bowl (title) 34-13, whereas the Gators would defeat NC State in the Gator Bowl 27-10.
Fiesta Bowl, 1996: Sun Devil Stadium
January 2, 1996
Touchdown Tommie Frazier!!!
Tommie Frazier needs to be put in the College Football Hall of Fame as soon as possible because the guy was an absolute superstar on the gridiron.
His epic run and virtuoso performance against the Florida Gators in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl was one of the best we have seen in Nebraska history.
Frazier ran for 199 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his magical 75 yard scamper down the sidelines after he broke six tackles that still has fans jumping for joy.
Nebraska was picked to lose by most experts, but they left no doubts, hammering the Gators 62-24. It was the relentless perfection by Frazier that gave them a huge edge.
Florida State, 1998: Doak Campbell Stadium
November 21, 1998
Florida State went to the first three BCS title games, but it was their first appearance that came by the hands (or feet) of one Peter Warrick.
After Chris Weinke couldn’t play with a nagging injury, Marcus Outzen had to fill in. These two teams started battling before the game even started.
A classic melee broke out before kick, but this was a huge game that had BCS title implications for both squads. The Gators came in ranked fourth whereas the Noles were fifth, and FSU trailed 12-6 at halftime.
However, it was a late third-quarter score that turned the tables, as Peter Warrick once again flashed brilliance and made "amazing" look so easy.
The Noles ended up winning, as the 33-yard touchdown by Warrick helped set off fireworks (Warrick threw a TD to Ron Duggans), and they went on to appear in the first-ever BCS title against Tennessee, thanks to the display by P-Dub (not a bad option either).
Fiesta Bowl, 2007: University of Phoenix Stadium
Yes, arguably the greatest postseason game ever played (non title), the Boise State Broncos pulled off an absurd upset over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma was only favored by 7.5 points, and many counted the Smurfs out in this one. However, Chris Petersen and his quarterback Jared Zabransky put on a clinic with unforgettable plays and moments.
This game had four scoring moments that most will never forget (pick your favorite). After leading for nearly the entire game (28-10 in the third quarter), Zabransky and the Broncos lost the lead after OU's Marcus Walker brought a pick six (2:33:00 mark) to give the Sooners a 35-28 lead with 62 seconds remaining in regulation.
I say "regulation" because Jerard Rabb caught a electrifying hook-and-ladder pass thrown by Zabrasnky to Drisan James. Rabb took it to the house for an incredible 35-yard score that many will never forget (2:41:00 mark).
The impossible play occurred on 4th-and-18, which is surreal. Many including myself are still trying to understand how this happened.
The game went into overtime, as the Broncos scored with just seven seconds remaining, but the fun had just started.
After a halfback pass touchdown from Vinny Perretta to Derek Schouman (2:54:00 mark), Petersen opted to go for victory.
The most memorable and entertaining two-point conversion in the history of college football occurred as the Broncos pulled off the "Statue of Liberty." Ian Johnson (2:56:00 mark) cruised in for the game-winning conversion, 43-42!
Libery Bowl, 2009: University of Memphis
The Memphis Tigers are not known for their football, especially not in recent memory. Thus, the game featured here was in the 2009 Liberty Bowl.
The Kentucky Wildcats took on the East Carolina Panthers, and UK struggled to muster any sort of offense.
They were fortunate when trailing 16-3, because David Jones brought back the opening kick of the second half to cut the lead to 16-10.
The 'Cats ended up winning the game 25-19, and finished their season at 7-6.
Sugar Bowl, 2000: Louisiana Superdome
Peter Warrick's legacy as a Seminole wide receiver is unforgettable, thanks to this filthy catch he hauled in the 2000 Nokia Sugar Bowl (national championship).
The Seminoles received quite the competition—Michael Vick gave them a solid game, but it was P-Dub's superstar grab that was the icing on the cake, as they their lead was only 39-29.
The 43 yard touchdown grab was Warrick's third of the game. There have been hundreds of spectacular touchdowns in the Superdome, so feel free to share what scoring moment was the best in your opinion.
Note: FSU won the BCS title as they capped off and became the first-ever wire-to-wire champion, hence they were chosen here.
Boston College, 1984: Orange Bowl
The Florida State Seminoles and Miami, FL Hurricanes gave us so many epic finishes and thrilling games, but there is arguably nothing more spectacular than a game-ending Hail Mary.
The game known as "Flutie Magic" will forever be about Doug Flutie finding Gerard Phelan for a time-expiring and game-winning touchdown to defeat the Hurricanes in their own backyard, 47-45.
Boston College was ranked No. 10, whereas Miami was No. 12. Bernie Kosar and the Canes seemed to have the edge (Kosar threw for 447 yards).
Miami led 45-41, as Boston College had time for just a final few passes. Flutie drew up "55 Flood Tip" and heaved a 48-yard Hail Mary that was answered (Flutie threw from his own 38!).
The moment is one of the greatest memories in the history of college football and "Flutie Magic" will always rank high on any sort of thrilling list.
Air Force, 1984: Falcon Stadium
October 5, 1985
During the Gerry Faust era, Notre Dame football was not at its best. They ended up going 5-6 in 1985.
They were coming off a bowl game in 1984 (7-5) and so it was the Air Force Falcons that were the favorites in this game.
The Irish could have iced the game with a touchdown, but quarterback Steve Beuerlein had an intentional grounding to push them back and force them to tack on a field-goal.
The problem with attempting that kick was that it was blocked by the Falcons and returned for a touchdown. Terri Maki had blocked it and A.J. Scott scooped it up for the thrilling touchdown.
The Falcons held on defense for the once-in-a-lifetime victory, 21-15. Air Force would lose to BYU later on in Provo, but they did manage to finish the season with an 11-1 record and a Bluebonnet victory over Texas (they finished eighth in AP Poll, fifth in Coaches).
Stanford, 2009: Stanford Stadium
November 28, 2009
The Cardinals finally were making their run to national prominence with Jim Harbaugh as their head coach, but this game was all about Toby Gerhart's drive toward a Heisman.
Although he finished second to Mark Ingram (Alabama's first-ever winner), the Cardinal running back toted the rock 29 times for 205 yards and three TDs.
Throw in the fact that his dazzling four-yard TD run with 59 seconds remaining gave Stanford the victory (45-38), it also happened to be the first victory over the Irish since 2001 (at the time).
Maybe this wasn't the electric touchdown you expected to witness, but it was arguably this win over ND that allowed them to become a dominant program. Remember, just six season ago Stanford went 1-11!
Note: Since this game in 2009, Stanford has also only lost four games (which include their last three bowl games, two of which have been losses).
Iowa, 1985: Kinnick Stadium
October 9, 1985
The last amazing victory for the Hawkeyes during the regular season is arguably their 1985 home night game victory over second-ranked Michigan.
Iowa was atop the polls at No. 1, but they needed a game-winning and time-expiring field-goal to pull off the victory.
The kicker was Rob Houghtlin, and it was from 30 yards as the Hawkeyes' Heisman contender Chuck Long positioned the team to pull off the victory.
Houghtlin drilled the kick, and the Hawkeyes had done it. They stayed atop the ranking as their magical 1985 season eventually came to an end in the Rose Bowl to UCLA (45-28, finished ninth in Coaches an tenth in AP Poll).
Note: If you feel the fairly recent 2008 kick by Daniel Murray deserved to be on the list because you were there, no hard feelings.
Alabama, 2011: Bryant-Denny Stadium
September 24, 2009
We know how great and amazing the state of Alabama is, and winning the last three BCS titles surely speaks volumes as to who owns the landscape of the sport.
However, this punt return from last season against Arkansas has to rank high on the list. Alabama's Marqise Maze was a solid receiver during his stay in Tuscaloosa, but being able to dodge the entire Razorback special teams unit by weaving in and out of traffic was a memorable touchdown.
The fact that it was a 83-yard punt return touchdown helped solidify as one of the more electric scores in Alabama's history, but it was simply just a 17-7 score early in the second half against No. 14 Arkansas.
This critical SEC West game may have ended up becoming a blowout, (38-14) but the fact is Alabama cruised to a victory thanks in part to Maze's spectacular run. Plus, hoisting the crystal ball once again (No. 14) makes everybody around town excited for the 2012 season to get going.
Auburn, 2001: Jordan-Hare Stadium
October 13, 2001
Damon Duval hammered home a 44 game-winning kick that won it for Auburn, but more importantly upset the top-ranked team in the country.
The Florida Gators were nearly unbeatable heading into the season, but Auburn arguably ruined their BCS dreams as Duval's kick went right down the middle to give the Tigers the 23-20 upset victory.
Florida did end up losing to Tennessee later on, but they still won the Orange Bowl and finished their season in the Top Ten.
Auburn's victory didn't have the most impactful effect, since they finished just 7-5, but Jordan-Hare Stadium and all of college football erupted when that kick sailed through the uprights.
Arkansas, 2002: War Memorial Stadium
November 29, 2002
The Arkansas Razorbacks only appeared in the SEC title game once since it started in 1992, but it looked as if the LSU Tigers all but locked up their game at War Memorial Stadium.
Down 20-14, Arkansas' Matt Jones had to put together a magical drive, and he did just that with under a minute to go.
After threading the needle for a 50-yard gain to Richard Smith, there was time left for just a play or two, as Arkansas was at the LSU 31.
With less than 20 second remaining, Jones lofted the game-winning touchdown pass to DeCori Birmingham.
Known as the "Miracle on Markham", the Razorbacks clinched the SEC West with their victory, and the touchdown remains as the greatest finish to a game played at War Memorial Stadium.
Texas, 1998: Darrell K. Royal
November 27, 1998
Ricky Williams entered this game trailing Tony Dorsett by 62 for the most career rushing yards in FBS history (6,032).
It didn't take long for Ricky to break the record, as he gashed the Aggies defense on a gorgeous 60-yard run to the house.
The Longhorns ended up going 9-3, including their Cotton Bowl victory over Mississippi State.
Williams eventually lost the record one year later when Ron Dayne (6,397) went wild himself, but Ricky's (6,279) still remains second on the all-time list.
Nebraska, 1971: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
Johnny Rodgers torched the Oklahoma Sooners on this punt return, and the only reason this play made it was because many still consider this Husker squad the greatest that has ever played in the history of college football.
Also, this is considered by many to be the "Game of the Century." Nebraska answered the bell first, as it was Johnny's 72-yard punt return that got the crowd on their feet.
Many to this day view that punt return as one of the greatest moments in college football history, especially as the all-time vital play led to the Huskers winning 35-31.
Rodgers, of course, won the Heisman the following season. Oklahoma dominated the competition for years to come, whereas the Huskers' legendary coach Bob Devaney would retire after coaching one more season.
Georgia Tech 200 Bobby Dodd Stadium
Many could choose a play from the 1990 national championship season that the Yellow Jackets put together, but cannot go wrong choosing Calvin Johnson.
He put on a display of so many ridiculous catches while he was in Atlanta, but let's look back at they nearly upset Notre Dame at home to start off the 2006 season. Sure, it was just a 14-10 ball game, but they would have gone nowhere without one of the biggest freaks to ever play wide receiver in college football.
Cal 1982: Memorial Stadium
November 20, 1982
Known as "The Play" this may forever remain as the wackiest game-winning and -ending play to a college football game.
Everybody knows this finish and how many laterals (five) were used to accomplish such a thrilling end. Most die-hard fans still to this day will watch it over and over again.
Richard Rodgers of course dodged several Stanford tacklers and band members on a squib kick from Stanford (who led 20-19), but it is his iconic touchdown that may never be topped again.
Oklahoma State 1988: Boone Pickens Stadium
September 10, 1988
Barry Sanders dazzled and entertained us during his stay in Stillwater, but the running back remains arguably the greatest back to play both college and NFL (so many legends to debate with).
Sanders, of course, has way too many records that most will never even touch. This memorable 101-yard kickoff return touchdown came in 1988 against Miami Ohio.
Sanders easily won the Heisman that season, as he totaled 39 TDs, 2,628 yards rushing and a total of 3,249 total yards of offense.
Note: Sanders averaged 238.9 rushing yards per game, which is a record that quite frankly may never touched, though his 37-total TD mark was just broken by Montee Ball.
Arkansas 2011: Razorback Stadium
November 12, 2011
Joe Adams brought Razorback Stadium on their feet after dancing with the entire Tennessee Volunteers special teams unit. After dodging several players as if he was Mr. Houdini, Adams danced his way for an electric 60-yard punt return touchdown.
The Razorbacks were only up 7-0, so clearly the touchdown put Pig Sooie in charge for the rest of the game. They ended up winning this one 49-7.
Of course, Arkansas finished their season with a solid 11-2 record, but their ultimate dream of winning an SEC Championship is still in the works, as John L. Smith takes over the 2012 squad.
TCU,1999: Amon G. Carter Stadium
November 20, 1999
When a record is set and is still not broken, there is a good chance it's done by a great player. That would be the case and then some with future Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson.
During his time at TCU he toted the rock 817 times for 4,849 yards and 50 TDs!
Averaging 5.9 yards per carry, "LT" was simply one of the best we ever saw during the BCS era. His best performance was against the UTEP Miners, where he toted it 43 times for 406 yards and 6 TDs.
His final two runs were epic, but if I had to pick it would be his last (a 63-yard score) since that was the record-setter for rushing yards.
Michigan State, 2011: Spartan Stadium
October 22, 2011
There have been great memories and scoring plays at Spartan Stadium, but none had more of a dream-come-true ending than this past season against the Wisconsin Badgers.
Instead of just taking a knee and going into overtime (no team should do that if they are at or near mid-field), Kirk Cousins had one last heave left in the tank.
Cousins hoisted a 44-yard bomb that was caught by Keith Nichol (former OU transfer who, oddly enough, lost to Texas Tech that same night at home). Nichol caught the ball just inside the Badgers' 1, but he had to scrap and claw his way towards the goal-line.
The ruling was that he was stopped short and that the game was going into overtime—albeit, they did announce there would be a review as soon as they could.
After a fairly quick review, several replays showed that Nichol did indeed just inch his way into the end zone for the game-winning score (37-31 MSU won).
Note: Not only was this instant classic better than the "ClockGate" finish, but this game had a lasting effect on the Badgers as they would lose to Ohio State the following week in another long pass. It knocked the Badgers out of the BCS title race, although they did get their revenge against Sparty in the Big Ten title.
Boise State, 2009: Bronco Stadium
During the Chris Petersen era most should be talking about his overall success, but the Broncos defense always gets thrown to the wayside because they do not haul in the "sexy" four- or five-star studs.
However, they get their players to fit into their system arguably better than any team in the country, thanks to Petersen and his coaching staff.
This scoring play may come as a shock to you, but during the the Smurfs' 2009 perfection, it was all about their season-opening victory over Oregon.
Leading 8-0 in the second quarter, the Ducks were pinned deep in their own territory. Billy Winn tackled Legarrette Blount for a safety, and it officially made the point that Boise State was not going to be pushed around, and that they indeed would be a step ahead of the opposition.
Their team's success is never talked about enough since football is arguably the ultimate team game, and this shining moment by the Broncos defense helped the squad turn in a perfect 13-0 season.
LSU, 2002: Commonwealth Stadium
November 9, 2002
Known as the "Blue Grass Miracle" due to circumstances that should never, ever happen in a college football game, the Kentucky Wildcats had their hearts ripped right out, thanks to a Hail Mary pass that landed in the hands of one Devery Henderson.
Marcus Randall threw the pass from his own 18 (ball spotted at his own 25), but the bomb was tipped by a Wildcats defender and slipped right into the hands of Henderson, who dashed past a few defenders as he snagged arguably the most thrilling receiving touchdown in SEC history.
Kentucky already doused their head coach Guy Morriss, but the defense could not intercept it (KNOCK IT DOWN!) or even tackle Henderson, who was 20 yards short of the goal line.
LSU pulled off this miracle in Lexington by a final score of 33-30, as "Dash Right 93 Berlin" was the final play that put the UK faithful to sleep.
Texas Tech, 2008: Jones At&T Stadium
November 1, 2008
The Texas Tech Red Raiders may not have the most popular stadium in all of college football, but this finish of a game ranks with nearly anybody on the list.
Talk about a game filled with superstar individuals and teams that had BCS implications.
Texas was ranked No. 1 in the polls while Texas Tech was seventh, yet many counted them out in this one. The Longhorns came back, thanks to the great Colt McCoy, but Graham Harrell willed his team back with a chance to kick the game-winning kick.
The only problem was that was only eight seconds remained, and the Red Raiders did not exactly have the best kicker in the country, so they opted to thread the needle one last time.
Oh boy, did they deliver. Harrell hit All-American wide receiver Michael Crabtree as he tightroped down the sidelines for the emphatic game-winning touchdown, with just one lone tick on the clock.
Tech survived after what could have been a major mental meltdown, as they nearly botched their clock management, but the Red Raiders upset Texas and knocked them out of the BCS title (via three-way tie) with their 39-33 victory.
Hawai'i, 2007: Aloha Stadium
After trailing 21-0 in the second quarter, a BCS bowl seemed as if it were slipping through the hands of one Colt Brennan.
Hawai'i bounced back quickly, as Colt Brennan entered the bonkers phase (he was in it all year) thanks to a trio of stars hauling darts.
Jason Rivers hauled in four consecutive touchdown passes for the Warriors, tying it up with eight minutes remaining in regulation.
Brennan would get the ball back, and hit Ryan Grice-Mullen for the game-winning 5-yard touchdown. The Huskies would come all the way down inside the Hawai'i's 5, but Jake Locker's passes were tipped in the air by his own receiver and the Warriors picked it off to end the game.
Brennan threw a few fabulous strikes and ended up with 442 yards and 5 TDs, but none was bigger than his delivery to Grice-Mullen to send the Warriors to their first BCS appearance (and unbeaten regular season).
Iowa, 2005: Florida Citrus Bowl
January 1, 2005
The Hawkeyes looked as if they jut suffered a tough Capital One Bowl to Nick Saban and the Bayou Bengals as freshman JaMarcus Russell came in relief and raiiled his team back to victory.
The victory belonged to Iowa as Drew Tate's time-expiring heave had some magic touch on it as Warren Holloway hauled in the 56-yard game-winning touchdown.
There was no time on the clock and pandemonium erupted on the Iowa side of the stadium. Gary Thorne had the call on ABC and the finish was one of the best of the BCS era (for non-BCS bowls, easily).
Note: This stadium is now called Bright House Networks Stadium, home of the UCF Knights
Louisville, 2006: Papa John's Stadium
September 22, 2002
Florida State was heavy favorites to defeat Louisville after they obliterated them 31-0 in Tallahassee two season prior.
FSU remained a trendy pick to play in the BCS title, but it was a tough season for them after Louisville was the first of five teams to defeat them (I wish I could have a bad year and still play in a BCS bowl though).
The game had terrible field conditions with inclement weather, but the 'Ville put together one hell of a game as the two teams winded up going to overtime. After FSU threw an interception on their possession, the Cardinals did not waste any time.
Henry Miller didn't wait long in overtime as it was the very first play where he took the hand-off to the house for the game-winning 25-yard touchdown. The No. 4 team in the country was dethroned by what many still consider to this date as the greatest Louisville victory in its history of a program.
Ohio State, 2002: Ross-Ade Stadium
November 9, 2002
Michael Jenkins hauled in a fourth down (4th-and-1 at PU's 37) converted pass thrown by Craig Krenzel for the game-winning touchdown (37 yards).
However, it was not just any sort of ball game, because the Buckeyes were ranked No. 3 in the polls.
Plus, their victory enabled them to become the eventual BCS national champions, after they defeated Miami, FL (2 OT) in what many considered to be one of the greatest title games ever.
Note: Purdue was just 4-5 entering the game, but they gave Ohio State everything they could handle in this phenomenal Big Ten finish.
West Virginia, 1993: Mountaineer Field
November 20, 1993
The West Virginia Mountaineers became Big East champions in 1993 by defeating Miami FL in dramatic fashion, 17-14.
West Virginia was knocking on Miami's goal line, as they moved it all the way down to their 19, but they trailed 14-10 in the fourth quarter.
Robert Walker ended all the drama. They waltzed into the end zone for the game-winning 19-yard touchdown, as the Mountaineers prevailed 17-14. WV finished their regular season undefeated, but they were then unfortunately eclipsed by Florida in the Sugar Bowl 41-7.
Miami finished 9-3 and No. 15 in the polls after they were demolished by Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl (29-0).
Iowa State, 2011: Jack Trice Stadium
November 18, 2011
What in the world have happened if Oklahoma State avoided that upset to Iowa State?
Duh, the Cowboys would have likely played LSU regardless, whether Oregon defeated USC or not.
The Cowboys offense was unstoppable, as they were obliterating Big 12 teams all season long, but they ran into a buzzsaw on a Friday night when the two went into double overtime tied at 31.
After Brandon Weeden threw a costly pick, Iowa State had a first-and-goal from the Pokes 4.
Jeff Woody received a hand-off and broke the backs of every single Oklahoma State player and fan as he capped off an improbable upset (27.5 points).