The University of Central Florida won a share of the American Athletic Conference after a crazy final minute that culminated in a Hail Mary that may never have happened if one defender didn’t think the play was already over.
The bizarre ending started with about a minute to go when East Carolina had the ball deep in UCF territory. Even though a field goal would given East Carolina a 7-point lead and almost certainly guarantee they wouldn’t lose in regulation, they decided to try and run out the clock by taking a knee.
Interestingly, for those who track such things, East Carolina was favoured by 6.5 points in many circles.
Unable to run out the clock completely, East Carolina tried to run out as much of the clock as possible by having the quarterback scramble around, even taking a sack on 4th down. This gave UCF ten free yards with ten seconds remaining.
After the turnover on downs and a quick pass to the sideline, UCF had the ball at midfield with just five seconds remaining.
That’s when the Hail Mary happened.
Great play. Hail Marys happen. But a couple of things stand out.
1. The defence committed the cardinal sin of letting a receiver get behind them and then they compounded the error by mistiming their jumps, just missing the ball before it landed in Breshad Perriman’s hands.
2. A closer look at the defender (no. 39) actually guarding Perriman shows that he had given up on the play and was starting to take off his helmet as the pass was caught.
Here is a closer look of no. 39 starting to unbuckle his chin strap while the ball was still in the air.
He did get the helmet off but he was left in state of shock at what happened.
That’s as crazy of ending as you will ever see.
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