I’m researching for a book and watching every appropriate college football game available and in search of the many other games.
I have a sense of humor, but rarely do I find much funny regarding football games. But, I was watching the 1985 version of the Miami versus Florida State game and found myself actually laughing out loud. People today use initials on text messages or emails along the lines of LOL, LMAO, or ROTFLMAO. Most people know what those initials mean, but for the three people in the world that don’t, LOL clearly means laughing out loud.
LMAO means laughing my ass off and ROTFLMAO means rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. I am sure there are many other meaningful initials, but I don’t really use them very often and I don’t speak text. I really don’t text ‘how r u?’ but prefer real English and just spell out ‘how are you?’
This play involving Florida State and rival Miami did not make me LMAO, or ROTFLMAO, but I did clearly LOL and I laugh at a funny movie or a funny comedian but rarely laugh during a football game.
This game really did make me laugh quite a bit.
Miami was in a 4th down situation at about their own 19 yard line. Miami coach Jimmy Johnson sent in his punt team and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden put in their punt defense. Instead of calling for a return, and they did have Deion Sanders that season, they called for a punt block. Jeff Feagles was back to punt for the Hurricanes and the snap was really high, but he jumped up and snagged it.
Senior Linebacker Jesse Solomon got through the middle of the line really quickly and dove forward and blocked the Miami punter’s kick and it was recovered in the End Zone by senior Cornerback Bill Richardson for a Touchdown.
But, wait, the officials had supposedly blown the whistle because the Miami Hurricanes had used up too much time and it was a delay of game penalty. Usually, when that happens the referee will run out and stop the play waving his hands and there was no sign of that.
I thought when I watched, wow, what a lucky break for the Hurricanes and probably a questionable
The Hurricanes lined up to punt again. This time from their own 14 yard line. Jeff Feagles turned out to be one of the best punters in NFL history and played for 22 years holding the record for most punts in a career. But, in this game, he looked like a little kid and very scared and unsure of himself.
The deep snapper for Miami snapped the ball again and incredibly instead of a high snap he put the ball on the ground right in front of Feagles feet. Now, Feagles really freaked out and hesitated with the ball ever so briefly which was just enough to get reserve Running Back Dwayne Denson in position to block it, which he did.
It was hard to control my laughing at this time because I am fairly certain I have never seen two back to back punt blocks in successive plays. I actually did laugh out loud, or LOL.
I would guess Miami coach Jimmy Johnson and Hurricane fans did not find it very funny.
Florida State’s redshirt freshman Strong Safety Brian Davis fell on the punt in the End Zone and this time there was no bogus Delay of Game penalty to call it back. Touchdown Florida State to even the game up at 14 all.
Miami went on to win the game, 35 – 27, as Bobby Bowden often had troubles against the Hurricanes.
I am a football perfectionist and mistakes frustrate the life out of me, but for some reason I found this back to back punt block to be hilarious.
Later in the game with time running out, Feagles held up well and kicked a booming punt from his own goal line to put the Seminoles back in their own territory while trying to come from behind. He went from goat to hero fairly quickly and he completely recovered eventually and made an outstanding NFL punter.
Something somewhat similar happened in the 1972 Iron Bowl. As you should know if you are a football fan, the Iron Bowl is the yearly game between huge SEC rivals Alabama and Auburn. I recently wrote about the Iron Bowl here:Bear vs Bo
In 1972, Alabama was on a roll and ranked #2 in the country only behind a pretty fantastic USC team which was one of college football’s all time great teams.
The Crimson Tide was 10 – 0 coming into the game and had beaten everyone fairly easily other than 10th ranked Tennessee and 6th ranked LSU. They beat 10th ranked Tennessee by only 17-10 and 6th ranked LSU 35-21. The rest of their wins were basically blowouts.
A shocking thing I learned while researching this article is that 9 out of 11 Crimson Tide games were played either in Tuscaloosa or in Birmingham at Legion Field. Both are home stadiums for Alabama.
The Auburn Tigers came into that 1972 Iron Bowl with a pretty solid team as well. They were 8-1 on the season with a win over 4th ranked Tennessee early in the season, 10-6. The following Saturday, they beat 18th ranked Ole Miss, 19-13. After winning their first 4 games the Auburn Tigers entered the Polls and they were 9th when LSU beat them soundly in Baton Rouge, 35-7.
After that big loss, the Tigers went on another roll winning 4 straight again.
Rivalry games are almost always interesting and this one promised to be a good one with Alabama ranked second and the Auburn Tigers ranked ninth.
The game did not disappoint, but in a very peculiar and surprising way.
As often is the case, this was a defensive battle and the Crimson Tide took a 9 to 0 lead into halftime. In the second half, the Tide extended their lead to 16 to 0 and the game looked to be about over with to the Crimson Tide and their fans.
Auburn finally got something going in the 4th quarter with time running out. But, the drive stalled and legendary Auburn coach Shug Jordan decided to kick a Field Goal. The Tigers were down 16-0 and to the Auburn faithful it appeared as if Jordan was giving up by settling for a Field Goal and they booed him mightily.
I have always hated boo birds, and I always will.
The Crimson Tide’s lead was only 16-3 now, but still all they needed to do was run out the clock.
The Auburn defense rose up and stuffed Alabama and forced them to punt.
The Auburn coaches went for a punt block here, and Auburn’s Bill Newton got free from the line of scrimmage quickly and blocked the punt. David Langner picked the ball up on a dead run and ran it 25 yards for a Touchdown. The score was suddenly getting tighter with Alabama clinging to a slim 16-10 lead.
But, still, all they needed to do was run out the clock.
Auburn’s defense rose up again and stopped Alabama and forced them into a punting situation again.
Alabama punter Greg Gantt was back in the game and hoping to pin Auburn deep in their own territory. Auburn’s Bill Newton once again got through the line really quickly and easily and once again blocked the punt. Almost comically, David Langner once again on a dead run almost like instant replay picked up the ball and ran it into the End Zone without even slowing down.
The game was tied 16-16 until the Tigers kicked the extra point to take a 17-16.
Alabama got one more chance. They were one of the teams from back in those years that ran the Wishbone Offense which was great in running the ball and controlling the game, but it wasn’t the best offense in trying to come from behind.
Alabama Quarterback Terry Davis over threw his receiver and the ball was intercepted by none other than David Langner who may have possibly had one of the better days in college football history.
The interception basically ended the game.
Supposedly, Auburn head coach Shug Jordan was angry on the sidelines when Langner ran off of the field after he picked off the last pass. Confused, Langner asked what was going on. Shug Jordan supposedly said, ‘our plan was to make them punt’. I don’t believe a word of that, but it made an amusing story.
Auburn coming from being down 16-0 in the 1972 version of the Iron Bowl by blocking two punts in a row will forever be known as ‘Punt Bama Punt’.