Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The 15-Lateral 62-Second Game-Ending "Mississippi Miracle" TD of Trinity against Millsaps

Some things in life are destiny, and this may be one of them, like the now suddenly famous game announcer who is a student at one of the game schools (in Texas) and grew up right next to the other (in Mississippi). Coincidence?

San Antonio Express-News Staff Writer Jerry Briggs in College football:
Tigers leap into national spotlight with improbable victory
put it this way:

"Trinity's chances of winning looked so bleak in the final seconds that Curry could hear Millsaps fans chanting, “Start up the bus.”"

But who could expect the miracle that transpired in Jackson, Mississippi.

First came a Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) TD with ca. 2 minutes to play to pull Trinity to within two points of Millsaps College (Jackson, Mississippi) 24-22. The two-point conversion failed.

Next, with the game victory now hardly in doubt, Millsaps recovered the onside kick with 1:37 to play, but nevertheless failed to convert on downs or entirely run out the clock. Millsaps went for the first down on 4th and 2 at ca. the Trinity 40-yard line and failed to make it, giving Trinity one last chance to score with only 2 seconds left on the clock.

And then came the topper:

With 2 seconds to play, Trinity (San Antonio, Texas) had the ball just short of their own 40-yard line. Trinity then completed a short pass to midfield as several tacklers converged on the lone receiver. What happened after that is better seen than described. You have to see it. The remarkable one-time video is here, take a look at it.

As written at the Daily Dose:

"The sports world is still buzzing about the unbelievable ending to the Trinity-Millsaps game, and rightly so, as 15 laterals took the team 60 yards over 62 seconds for six points and a 28-24 victory."

San Antonio Express-News Staff Writer Jerry Briggs in College football:
Tigers leap into national spotlight with improbable victory
described the action:

"The play looked a little like a backyard game of keep-away. Parts of it looked like the Harlem Globetrotters running circles around the befuddled Washington Generals."

Here's what the Trinity coach had to say about the play:

""Things have to go perfectly for that to work," coach Steve Mohr told The Associated Press after the Tigers got home Sunday night from Jackson, Miss. "We couldn't do that against air if we tried.""

Stephen Hawkins at the AP describes the play as follows:

"Blake Barmore dumped a short pass over the middle to a wide-open Shawn Thompson, who gained 16 yards before he ran into a defender and made the first pitch to Riley Curry. Then there was another lateral, and another and another.

Curry got the ball four times, the last after it was bounced off the turf into his hands around the 34 and he sprinted to the end zone. He crossed the goal line 62 seconds after the ball was snapped.

That bounce was the only time the ball touched the ground, and Mohr thinks that actually helped the Tigers.

"Some of the Millsaps players stopped. That created the seam for Curry," said Mohr, figuring some of the exhausted defenders might have thought it was like an incomplete pass to kill the play. "It was never batted, never touched the ground except the last throw, 14 straight completions." ...

Seven different Trinity players touched the ball, including two offensive linemen. Josh Hooten, a 266-pound guard, got it twice.

Hooten was the recipient of the second pitch, then threw the ball over his shoulder. Luckily, it went to receiver Michael Tomlin.

"He caught it and pitched it over his head blindly," Mohr said. "It was like he caught it and thought he's not supposed to have it. It was comical."

The third touch by Curry ended when he pitched back to Tomlin and then Curry wound up on the ground after being tackled. Tomlin ran toward the sideline and got rid of the ball as he went down in a crowd, throwing to Hooten, who quickly pitched to Brandon Maddux.

With defenders surrounding him, Maddux desperately pitched the ball back toward the middle of the field. It took a perfect hop to Curry, who had gotten back to his feet.

"The worst part about it is we had five or six guys just quit on the play," Millsaps coach Mike DuBose, the former Alabama coach, told The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger. "That type of thing just shouldn't happen. Sure, we were tired. But so was Trinity. You have to finish the play. We stopped.""

The play is quickly becoming famous as one of those rare miracle wonders of sports and is getting a lot of attention in the press, e.g.
  • Brandon C. Williams, Houston Chronicle, Can't Touch This Kind of Fame (featuring Riley Curry, who scored the game-winning TD) wrote:

    "Riley Curry found an opening and, with it, instant celebrity.

    The former Fort Bend Clements wide receiver completed one of the most jaw-dropping plays in sports history on Saturday, giving Trinity University a miraculous 28-24 win over Millsaps College. It was Riley who scored the game-winning touchdown, covering the final 34 yards on a 61-yard, 15-lateral play that has become the talk of college football."

  • Joe Lapointe, New York Times, Student Announcer Ensures Laterals Are Heard Round the World (featuring Jonathan Wiener) wrote:

    "Jonathan Wiener is a sophomore English major from Mississippi who enjoys William Faulkner novels. He is comfortable with bursts of words and long, descriptive paragraphs.

    So when Wiener’s narrative skills were put to a test Saturday in a football broadcast booth, he was prepared. For a young man with broadcasting ambitions, it was the pop quiz from heaven.

    “I can’t think of anything better in the world than watching football and talking about it,” Wiener, 20, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “It was only one of the most improbable plays in college football history.”"

  • Jonathan Wiener and Justin Thompson, this is the transcript of the broadcast of the play, MySA.com's transcript of the 'Mississippi Miracle' at the San Antonio Express-News

  • Rusty Hampton, Jackson Chronicle Ledger, in Millsaps Football: 'Mississippi Miracle'had Jackson voice wrote about the announcer, Jonathan Wiener:

    "Now here's the rest of the story: That announcer, Jonny Wiener, is from Jackson. He's a a sophomore English major at Trinity, a private liberal arts school in San Antonio. He's a Murrah High graduate who lives five minutes from Millsaps. And his 15 minutes of fame have lasted for some 48 hours.

    "My childhood dream has always been to be on ESPN calling football games," said Wiener Monday. "So there it is." ...

    After Saturday's game, 20-year-old Jonny Wiener breathlessly tried to describe what he had seen: "This might be the most incredible, sensational ending in all of Division III! Oh my gosh. I do not believe it. ... That was one of the most miraculous plays in all of college football!"

  • Jake Curtis, San Francisco Chronicle, 15-lateral play gave other guys the run-around
  • who wrote:

    "Amazingly, every lateral had gone backward and there were no blocks in the back.

    In the course of the play, Trinity initially advanced to Millsaps' 42-yard line, then retreated to its 45, advanced to Millsaps' 41, went back to its 42, moved ahead to Millsaps' 29 before moving back to the 44 and then scoring from there.

    Curry handled the ball four times and was tackled twice, barely getting rid of the ball before falling both times. He was not tackled on his final 44-yard burst to the end zone, with a number of exhausted Millsaps players strewn on the field.

    When asked whether his team practices that play, Mohr laughed.

    "Are you kidding?" he said. "We couldn't do that against air.""

  • Mike Christensen of the Clarion Ledger at USA Today in Must-see video: Div. III Trinity wins on 15-lateral miracle wrote:

    "An announced crowd of 3,974 at Davis Field did see it....

    "I've never seen anything like it in my 32 years in football," said Trinity coach Steve Mohr.

    Seven different Tigers touched the ball. There were 15 laterals. Think Cal-Stanford 1982 without the band running onto the field.

    "I can't even explain it," said Millsaps senior safety Ray Kline. "I guess they wanted it more than we did on that last play."

    It wasn't something Trinity had spent much practice time on.

    "Actually, we put it in over there (on the sideline) with about 8 seconds left," Curry said. "Then we said, 'Just run.' " ...

    Curry couldn't remember how many times he touched the ball on the final play, though he'll surely never forget how the final lateral bounced perfectly into his arms at about the Millsaps 44.

    He sprinted untouched to the end zone. When he crossed the goal line, there was bedlam on the Trinity sideline and among a pocket of Tigers fans behind their bench.

    Otherwise, the stadium was eerily quiet. Most of the Millsaps players were lying on the field. It looked like bodies strewn across a battlefield."

  • Joe Bonikowski, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, in Trinity's 15 laterals net a fantastic finish quotes Brian Marynowitz, a senior safety for Trinity:

    "After the first few laterals, we were going backward," he said. "On the last lateral, the ball hit the ground and they started shooting off fireworks and the crowd started going nuts. A few of their players stopped and Riley picked it up and went in from there.

    "After the game, we had a group huddle on the field. I don't think anyone wanted to leave. We wanted to soak up the atmosphere."

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