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jcy123 Offline

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14.02.2019 03:35
alling into the end zone with like a one-yard head start. You can kind of feel the season in your arms at that point as youre tr Antworten

Before the night of Oct. 22, 2011, Keith Nichols name did not resonate far beyond the borders of the Great Lake State, and certainly not for any particular play on the football field. If anything, Nichol was known as the guy who had lost the starting quarterback job to Michigan States Kirk Cousins three seasons earlier and been moved to wide receiver instead.In an instant, however, Nichol and Cousins would become inextricably linked for collaborating on one of the most unlikely, heart-stopping, game-winning catches in college football, which vaulted itself into the stratosphere of Michigan State lore. A Google search for Nichols name immediately yields the YouTube clip of the play that has been viewed more than 149,000 times online and countless other occasions on television replays -- one even his opponents havent been able to shake.Ive watched that video and that clip every now and then just to wonder like, Wow, so close, yet so far away to change your whole season like that, former Wisconsin linebacker Mike Taylor said.Added former Badgers co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash: It was one of the most gut-wrenching plays of my career. Whenever people show special situations of how not to defend end-of-game plays like a Hail Mary, I see it a lot.The scenario that night: BCS No. 6 Wisconsin, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Montee Ball and nine future NFL draft picks on offense, against Cousins, LeVeon Bell and No. 16 Michigan State in a primetime matchup with ESPNs College GameDay crew on hand. In all, there were 17 starters who became future NFL draft picks in the game. Score tied at 31. Michigan State ball. Third-and-one from the Wisconsin 44-yard line with four seconds left.What happened next in Spartan Stadium ultimately altered the course of the season for two teams and changed Nichols life.Wisconsin was probably going to the national title game if they win that, or at least it looked pretty good for them, Nichol said. Michigan State needed that win to kind of solidify their national stature there at the game.The stunning last-second loss ended the Badgers national championship dreams, but they extracted a measure of revenge by beating the Spartans 42-39 in the Big Ten championship game to earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. Michigan State ended up in the Outback Bowl, where it beat Georgia.This Saturday, No. 11 Wisconsin travels to face No. 8 Michigan State at noon ET to open Big Ten play. It marks the first time the Badgers have ventured to East Lansing since that fateful play five seasons ago. The 2011 regular-season game also represents the last time Wisconsin was an undefeated, top-15 program that late in the year.It all came crashing down from 44 yards away, when Cousins heaved a pass into the air and into history as the clock ticked down. Four ... three ... two ... one ... zero.Here is the story inside the play.Michigan State wide receiver Keith Nichol:?If you were to look at it the way a diagram was shaped when you were writing it on paper, the play looked like the shape of a rocket.Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins: There was no other play to call in that moment. It came in, and we were going to run it to the left. It was going to be 62 Rocket. Coach (Mark) Dantonio, whos a defensive coach and rarely gets involved in the playcalling, decided when Coach (Bret) Bielema from Wisconsin called a timeout, once he saw the formation we aligned in, Coach Dantonio said, I want Kirk to roll to his right since hes a right-armed quarterback. So we aligned it to the right and called a 63 Rocket. I ended up rolling out to my right.Keith Nichol:?We put it into the boundary, which is the short side, to consolidate the bodies. We felt like if we had more bodies in a small area that we had a better chance to come up with it.Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio: They called a timeout, so we switched it. We sort of rolled out to the boundary and bought ourselves some time. I knew that we had a big body going down there in (tight end) Dion Sims, who now plays for the Dolphins, Keith Nichol and a couple of other guys. I knew Cousins was going to put the ball in the end zone. Beyond that, the play is diagrammed to work, but they have plays that are diagrammed to defend as well.Wisconsin linebacker Mike Taylor:?In 2011 during training camp, our defensive calls for a play like that where the team has to throw a Hail Mary to either tie the game or win the game, for whatever reason, we changed it from the year before. The year before, we would want to cover the guy downfield and be between the ball and him to help box him out like in basketball. For whatever reason, we changed it going into 2011 where we were coached to trail the receiver. Obviously there wasnt really a reason to switch it. Im not sure why we tried to fix it.Wisconsin cornerback Antonio Fenelus:?Theres no easy way to cover a Hail Mary. You just try to execute as best as possible. I dont know if the other way wouldve stopped that situation from happening. Who knows?Keith Nichol: That play is literally the last play of every single Thursday practice that we have in just shoulder pads and shorts. We would usually just jog it. We dont even run that hard down, maybe 75 percent. The point of it is to land it about two yards into the end zone, and that there would be bodies surrounding it. Every time we practiced it, the point man would always tip it up in the air to be funny or goof around. It was practiced almost identical to how it was performed in the game, except at practice we never had any bodies rush on you at the goal line to score for the touchdown.Wisconsin safety Shelton Johnson: We ran our normal victory play. It was just a play that we had practiced every week up until then for last-play situations like that. A prevent defense with three deep safeties. We always called it victory because thats what its supposed to do. Its supposed to be just for last-ditch efforts like that. We werent talking about anything specific other than knocking the ball down and getting to overtime.Kirk Cousins: LeVeon Bell did a good job helping me get the edge and we just practiced it every week and let them get down to the end zone and then let it go. I threw it as high and far as I could to make sure it landed in that 10-yard end zone space.Mike Taylor: Our pass rush wasnt that great. I think we rushed three. Really there were only two guys that got any pass rush. By the time he threw the ball, he probably had four or five seconds and just had all the time in the world to throw the ball.Wisconsin co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash: Everything started out well, but we lost contain on the quarterback. We didnt box out at the launch spot.Shelton Johnson: I was one of the deep safeties to the field. They lined up three receivers into the boundary. I do know it was to the opposite side of me. I was just right there on the goal line when I saw the ball go up.Keith Nichol:?I was always the point man, being the individual two yards in the end zone to get my hands on it first. Getting up to the football and meeting it at its highest point was something I did well when I was playing. But B.J. Cunningham was actually having a phenomenal game against Wisconsin, and everything he touched, he was catching. If anyone was to get their hands on the football, coaches wanted it to be him at that moment.Shelton Johnson: Coach Bielema made a last-minute change to put Jared Abbrederis in back there instead of one of the defensive backs. He was probably one of the guys with the best ball skills on the team at that point, especially at the high point of the ball. So I cant say it was a bad move. But I think it definitely did surprise everybody when he decided to do that.Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema:?When you have a very special player that can do certain things better than others, even if its on the other side of the ball, you try to maximize it. Abby had a really good ball sense. We were really depleted that year. That year in particular, we had a corner, Devin Smith, who unfortunately became injured in our second or third game. If hed stayed healthy throughout the year, I dont know if we wouldve lost another one. But it was one of those years where if you had the wrong guy get injured at the wrong position, it could be devastating. And we were just kind of constantly trying to find a roster spot to fill that void.Mike Taylor:?A lot of things went wrong on this play. Starting with our defender, we had Jared Abbrederis in the game to kind of be an extra defender. Jump, catch the ball, knock the ball down. He mistimed his jump, had a poor jump and just barely ending up tipping the ball.Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis: The ball was in the air. It just felt like it floated forever. I went up to jump. I misjudged it, and that was it.Michigan State wide receiver B.J. Cunningham: He went up for the ball and I was like, Oh man, hes about to catch it, and it went right through his hands and hit me in the visor. As soon as it hit me in the visor, Im reaching for it. I was like, Oh my God, I just messed the game up for us. The ball hit me in the face. This is crazy. Im about to throw up. It was bad. I felt terrible. I didnt know what to do. Were going to watch this on film. Im going to look so un-athletic. Then I see the ball still in the air.Keith Nichol: To miss the football the way Abbrederis did by half an inch and to go through his hands into B.J.s facemask and then pop up in slow motion the way it did, somehow I found it. B.J. ended up tipping it to the position that he would have been in had the roles been reversed. What I thought in my mind was when I caught the football that I would fall or walk into the end zone no problem. And then that actually ended up being the opposite of what happened. What caught me by surprise was not necessarily catching the football. It was the wrestling motion at the end that caught me off guard.Shelton Johnson:?I assumed that Abbrederis was going to knock the ball down and we were going to go into overtime. But then I saw him kind of misjudge the ball and fall into a pile of bodies. I just ran over there as fast as I could to try to make sure the ball was down and move the pack back out of the end zone.Mike Taylor:?I was out of position. A lot of guys were out of position. Jared falls off the tackle. Shelton Johnson gets a bad attempt at a tackle, and the guys got forward momentum going to the goal line from one yard out. That left me versus him one-on-one while hes falling into the end zone with like a one-yard head start. You can kind of feel the season in your arms at that point as youre trying to keep him out of the end zone so it doesnt change the whole season. You get that sense of panic and that adrenaline rush where you just cant let this guy go in the end zone. They marked it at the two-inch line.Keith Nichol:?There was a moment when I leaned over the goal line, and I felt like half of my body was in the end zone. I felt like if my chest crossed the goal line, then the football had to come with me as well. But when youre thinking things through, you dont know if the football is there enough with you or if there was indisputable evidence to overturn the call.Kirk Cousins:?I had no perception of how close he was to the goal line or not. I thought maybe he was on the 4- or 3-yard-line and didnt even come close to the goal line. As I ran down, I saw a teammate of mine, Keshawn Martin, No. 82, who shows no emotion, never reacts to anything, is very deadpan, going crazy. With his hands like this talking to the ref. And I knew that if he was that emotional, it meant something.Keith Nichol:?That was to define a season for both teams at the time. So you just kind of wonder, OK, is it going to be enough for them to change it? If it was close, the refs were going to just go into overtime in my opinion and not live or die on that one call.B.J. Cunningham:?I didnt know if he crossed the line or not. They had to go to instant replay. When I saw or heard the crowd, Im like, Dang, he mightve really scored. Antonio Fenelus:?I had a bad feeling when they went to review.Kirk Cousins:?I went over to an ESPN cameraman on the sideline, who had the headset on and I just said, What are you hearing from the producers in the booth outside in the truck? He said, Were hearing that its going to be ruled a touchdown. I said, Well thats good enough for me. So we waited, but I was pretty hopeful.Mark Dantonio:?When Keith made the catch, and then they had the ruling on the field and everything, everyone was just sort of hanging. I was calm and waited for the ruling. Everyone was starting to say that were in, they have to give it to us, so I sort of felt it was going to go our way before the official ruling.Kirk Cousins: Sure enough, the ref came out and said the player did cross the goal line, and from there, it was pandemonium.B.J. Cunningham:?It bounces off my facemask, right into Keith Nichols hands, and he catches it, and we win the game? That was the most crazy play Ive ever been a part of in my life. Its like really how a Hail Mary is supposed to be coached. Thats how we ran it.Mike Taylor:?Instant replay is supposed to be conclusive evidence to overturn the play. You can assume the ball crossed the goal line, and it most likely did. But to say there was clear evidence of the ball crossing the goal line, I dont think you ever see the ball cross the goal line. You just assume based on where the guys hands are that the ball did cross the goal line. He probably did. But you cant clearly see that.Shelton Johnson: Looking at the replay, he got in. But in the heat of the moment, you hope that he didnt. I know everybody was a little upset when we heard the final call. I was like, Man, this shouldnt have been this close. Thats not something that you expect to happen. I think everyone on the team was getting mentally prepared for overtime.Bret Bielema:?That came down to an unbelievable execution by them and lack of it by us. Sometimes that ball just bounces the wrong way, and eventually you persevere.Jared Abbrederis: Thats why you play, especially something like that. Its just a backyard ball and if you end up in the right place, obviously crazy things can happen.B.J. Cunningham:?To end it on a play like that was amazing. Youll never forget that. Ill never forget it. I know it changed Keiths life. He went from quarterback to receiver to catching the winning touchdown in a homecoming game against a top-5 team in the country. Not too many people do that.Keith Nichol:?That kind of cemented myself as a player in that program. That moment did, at least. And I say that just because of the experiences Ive had on the street or out in the public. How often its brought up, things like that. Ive been in a restroom at a very nice restaurant in the metro Detroit area. Somebody said hello and brought that game up. What do you really say? Youre not going to shake their hand. Youre in the restroom, right? Ill be out and talking to somebody, and someone will pull up the YouTube video. This is him. People are just weird about it. Its been interesting.B.J. Cunningham:?I think about the play every week when we go over our Hail Mary drills in practice (with the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL) before the games. I always tell teammates to be ready because all of a sudden we practice it, the jump guy, a guy in the back and the middle, theyre all important. I tell them that in college, that exact same thing happened to me.Mike Taylor: It really messed up our season and our plans. If Im ever in Madison and seeing old pictures of teammates or teams, you think about it. Like what would have happened if we wouldve won that game? What wouldve happened if that ball didnt get deflected? What wouldve happened if I was able to keep him out of the end zone? Its not like I feel burdened or anything or I let my team down. Its just one of those things like, dang, you wish you had one more yard. You wish he wouldve caught the ball at the two instead of the one.Antonio Fenelus: I wish it wouldve gone the other way. But we got the last laugh. Thats one thing I will say. We got the last laugh against them in the Big Ten championship game.ESPN.coms John Keim and Rob Demovsky contributed to this story. Dana Barros Jersey . JOHNS, N. Maurice Cheeks Jersey . -- The plastic that was taped across the lockers in Oaklands clubhouse came down and the champagne that was on ice went back into the cooler. . Any real chance at payback wont



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