College football's greatest-ever walk-off wins

Lance Austin-151104-TOS.jpg

Sports fans have enjoyed all-time improbable and epic walk-off game-winning plays in three consecutive weeks. It could be argued that each of the three -- Miracle in Michigan II, Miracle on Techwood and Miami's eight-lateral return -- could rank among the greatest-ever walk-off plays for victory.

These recent developments require a "power rankings"-level restoration. Here are the updated greatest-ever walk-off wins in college football history.

Just missed: The Bluegrass Miracle. Sorry, LSU fans. It's a fantastic football moment, but it happened against hapless Kentucky.

Also just missed: Harvard beats Yale. Disqualified after further review due to the fact that the game ended in a tie.

10. Favre from Over

Game: Southern Miss 16, Louisville 10
Date: Oct. 14, 1989
Location: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky.

The ol' gunslinger struck an epic moment long before he became a great American sports icon. With his team at its own 21-yard line with six seconds left to play, Brett Favre avoided a Louisville defender and scrambled to his right. He then threw a Hail Mary pass that was deflected and then bounced off of Southern Miss receiver Michael Jackson's helmet. The ball fell into the hands of receiver Darryl Tillman, who scored the winning TD as time expired.


9. Miracle on Techwood

Game: Georgia Tech 22, Florida State 16
Date: Oct. 24, 2015
Location: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field, Atlanta, Ga.

A week after "Miracle in Michigan II", Georgia Tech got into the wild, insane finish action in its showdown with Florida State. With the score tied at 16, Georgia Tech blocked Roberto Aguayo's 56-yard potential game-winning kick, and then returned said blocked kick for the game-winning touchdown as time expired. It was Georgia Tech defensive back Lance Austin who picked up the loose ball and out-raced the Seminoles on his way to the end zone.


8. The Return

Game: Miami (Fla.) 30, Duke 27
Date: Oct. 31, 2015
Location: Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.

Legendary college football moments must come with at least a sprinkle of controversy. This moment spawned a heaping helping of fuss. It was wild and weird when it went down, took a somewhat expected turn in the aftermath, and will be one of the most famous victories among many famous victories at "The U." It is certain that Miami's eight-lateral mayhem on Halloween night will be hotly debated among college football fans for as long as the game is played.

Of course, in hindsight it was determined the play should not have counted. The University of Miami's official athletic department Twitter account had the perfect response, however.

Let's move on ...

7. McMahon's Hail Mary

Game: 1980 Holiday Bowl - BYU 46, SMU 45
Date: Dec. 19, 1980
Location: Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, Calif.

Jim McMahon capped a frenzied fourth-quarter rally -- one in which BYU scored 21 points in the final 2:33 of play -- with a 41-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to tight end Clay Brown that gave the Cougars a 46-45 win over SMU.

6. Miracle in Michigan I

Game: Colorado, 27, Michigan 26
Date: Sept. 24, 1994
Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Trailing 26-21 with six seconds left, Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart heaved the ball more than 70 yards into the end zone, where receiver Michael Westbrook caught the pass for the go-ahead TD in a 27-26 win at Michigan.

5. Hail Flutie

Game: Boston College 47, Miami 45
Date: Nov. 23, 1984
Location: Orange Bowl, Miami, Fla.

Trailing 45-41, Doug Flutie's last-second Hail Mary pass was caught by receiver Gerard Phelan in the end zone to give Boston College at 47-45 win over Miami, the defending national champion. Due in large part to this dramatic moment, Flutie won the Heisman Trophy that season.


4. Miracle in Michigan II

Game: Michigan State 27, Michigan 23
Date: Oct. 17, 2015
Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan led Michigan State, 23-21, with 10 seconds left in the game. With the victory seemingly in hand, Wolverines punter Blake O'Neill bobbled a low snap and, with his back to the line of scrimmage, attempted a kick. But he was hit and the ball popped right into the extended hands of Michigan State's Jalen Watts-Jackson, who broke a few tackles en route to the end zone. It was a most improbable way for the Spartans to remain undefeated and keep their CFB Playoff hopes alive.

3. Kick Six

Game: Auburn 34, Alabama 28
Date: Nov. 30, 2013
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.

With one second left in regulation and the game tied at 28, Alabama's field goal attempt fell short. Auburn's Chris Davis caught the ball in the end zone and returned the missed field goal 109 yards for the winning touchdown. The play helped Auburn knock off the top-ranked and two-time defending national champions from Alabama, while at the same time acting as a springboard for Auburn's place in the final BCS national championship game.

Now, let's get real weird ...

2. Statue of Liberty

Game: 2007 Fiesta Bowl -- Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42
Date: Jan. 1, 2007
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

The little-guy-who-could Boise State Broncos were in a dogfight with the big-boy Oklahoma Sooners on a New Year's Day evening in the desert. Then, Boise State decided to get weird. Of course, there was that beautfilly executed Statue of Liberty play on a two-point conversion try to win it in the end (not to mention the sideline proposal immediately thereafter, as the player who got the winning score -- Ian Johnson -- proposed to a Boise State cheerleader).

Before that winning play, there was a hook-and-lateral play on a fourth-and-18 situation that went for the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The touchdown play before the Statue of Liberty play came out of a form of what would become known as the "Wildcat" (it was all the rage back in 2007). It was a fourth-and-2 situation. Quarterback Jared Zabransky went into motion and wide receiver Vinny Perretta -- who was lined up at running back -- took the snap. Perretta rolled to his right and shot-putted a pass into the end zone, where tight end Derek Schouman, who was lined up at wide receiver, caught the pass for a touchdown.

A strong case can be made that this is the greatest college football game of all time. We'll save that debate for another "power rankings"-level compilation.

1. The Play

Game: California 25, Stanford 20
Date: Nov. 20, 1982
Location: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, Calif.

"Oh, the band is out on the field!"

No walk-off moment is as mayhem-filling as this one.

"We don't know who won the game. There are flags on the field!"

Oh, and some poor trombonist got trampled during the frenzied fray. (Seriously, nobody on the Stanford band thought to tackle the Cal player storming into the end zone? Maybe that would have been just too much crazy.)

The thing that stands out about this game-winning play above all the others is the band. On-field access is a bit more restricted nowadays than it was back in 1982. Can you imagine a full-scale marching band getting into the middle of the action in a game-ending play in today's game?

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.