Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Just ask Nick Marshall and Ricardo Louis.
No. 7 Auburn was trailing No. 25 Georgia by one point with just 36 seconds left in Saturday’s SEC West slugfest. To make matters worse, Auburn had held a 20-point lead, 37-17, with 12 minutes left in the game. Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray suddenly romped all over the Tigers secondary, scoring three unanswered touchdowns to reach the precipice of stealing a critical conference game.
But funny how that oblong ball bounces sometimes.
The Georgia defense had forced Marshall, Auburn’s first-year starter, into a fourth-and-18 with just those 36 seconds left on the clock. Marshall isn’t known as a great downfield passer, but he tossed one into double coverage to his top receiver, Louis, and, well, you can see what happened on video.
Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons collided, tipped the ball up in the air, and Louis caught the (very) fortuitous bounce.
“Never been a part of anything like this,” Louis told reporters after the game. “It’s like a dream. It’s a dream come true, actually. I always dreamed about making a great play in a big game. Coach [Gus] Malzahn said in the beginning of the week, he was like, Ricardo is due for a great play in a big game and he was right.”
Yeah, I think that counts as a big play.
It brings to mind an epic 2002 SEC game between Kentucky and LSU, then coached by Nick Saban, when Tigers receiver Devery Henderson (later of the New Orleans Saints) caught a tipped pass and ran it into the end zone to knock off the Wildcats, and cult-hero quarterback Jared Lorenzen, who were already in mid-celebration.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. Will take any opportunity to show the Round Mound of Touchdown (aka the Pillsbury Throwboy).