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College Football

I Must Admit That This BYU Touchdown Play Is Fun As H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks

Jaren Hall throws a pass
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

In the first quarter of last night’s game against Arizona State, BYU looked asleep. They had only 12 yards of offense when I flipped to the game at the end of the first quarter. Awful. Embarrassing. This was supposed to be a tight contest! I kept it on, however, because the other option was Georgia, who was playing a high-school team called South Carolina.

In the second quarter, though, BYU snagged an interception. On five plays, they drove down the field to the ASU 34-yard line. It was first and 10, and goshdarnit, BYU was ready to have some fun.

The formation on this play doesn’t look like anything special. We have three receivers out on the edges, a running back, and some blockers. Sure, whatever. Maybe a little 12-yard post route, ASU clearly thought. But oh-no-no, that is not what is going to happen.

Instead, what we have here is a reverse flea-flicker—a little trick by the underdog to rock the Sun Devil defense back onto their heels so that, while they are in a state of shock, the ball may fly free through the air and into the end zone to a player so wide open there might as well not have been an ASU secondary.

From the pistol, quarterback Jaren Hall handed off the ball to the running back, who began, on first glance, what looks like a run down the sideline. But he tossed the ball to the wide receiver, who was running a reverse toward the pocket. But it’s not a reverse either! So fun! Instead, the guy running the reverse pitched it back to Hall, who (standing at the 45-yard line) absolutely launched the ball to the end zone. As the camera scans, you can see the majority of the ASU defenders all bunched up near the sideline, fooled by the handoff and the reverse. When the ball hit Gunner Romney (GUNNER ROMNEY!) in the numbers in the back of the end zone, the closest ASU defender had just crossed the goal line.

This is a great play call for an underdog. It is also, as my colleague Dan reminded me, a Tecmo Super Bowl classic trick play. The Bills ran this play in 2018 against the Patriots unsuccessfully. But it worked for BYU, and I’m glad it did. College football players should have more fun. And this play is fun as hell!

BYU defeated Arizona State, 27—17.