1) Aaron Green's tipped touchdown catch against Texas Tech
This next angle, which comes courtesy of Star Telegram, is even better. Especially in HD.
Shhhhh, do you hear that...It's the sound of the sea of Texas Tech surrender cobras hissing. Let's be honest, you all knew this was going to take the top spot back when I started this list. Not only did this play give us the lead in the final seconds of the game, it also perfectly sums up this past season for the Frogs. Magical.
We didn't make it to the College Football Playoffs, nor did we even hoist up a conference trophy, but what we accomplished this season was so much more impressive considering how the season played out. We lost so many starters to injury, but that couldn't stop the Frogs from putting up a fight in every game. Regardless of how bleak things looked, the Frogs found a way to win in almost all of their games. That stretch of close conference games all started on a crazy September afternoon in Lubbock, Texas. Believe me, this game delivered on every Big XII stereotype and then some. The first play of our very first drive was a double reverse pass from KaVontae Turpin (which thank you for calling that one Doug, you know I had been begging for its return all year).
Just like how the great Dallas Cowboys' teams of the 1990's were known for the Triplets, the Frogs had their own trio that was destined for greatness. Trevone Boykin, Josh Doctson, and Aaron Green. Not so coincidentally, all three of them played a hand in this game winning play. Now before I break this beautiful piece of cinema down, I just want to recognize all three of their performances and not let them be overshadowed by the amazing catch. Without all three of them playing out of their minds for sixty minutes, we would have surely been wrecked by Tech.
Deuce threw the ball 54 times, completing 34 of them, for a whopping 485 yards and 4 touchdowns. What impresses me the most is that in all of those 54 attempts, not once did Boykin turn the ball over. He also rushed for 48 yards and caught a really really close 2-point conversion, which would be invaluable later on. It would force Tech to go for a touchdown instead of a field goal in the final seconds.
The Doctor had a career day when he hauled in 18 receptions, for a whopping 267 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Despite being double teamed for a majority of the second half, Doctson could not be stopped, and when it mattered most he came down with some very clutch receptions.
His performance here was similar to the college days of Michael Crabtree, a former Tech receiver that I love to compare Doctson to. Ironically, this performance took place on the same field where Crabtree used to play. Of course he will always be remembered for his catch against the Longhorns, but Crabtree's best performance in a single game was a 244 yard torching of Rice. You could say Doctson had a better day.
While it was not a record day for Green, it was arguably the most clutch performance of his college career. He ran the ball 28 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Including a goal line leap that would've made LaDainian Tomlinson proud.
It was in the second half when Green took over on several occasions. Cutting around defenders for first downs, taking off huge chunks of yards down the field, and when necessary, grinding down the clock near the end of the 4th. Of course Green caught the game winning touchdown, following the ball until the very end, and did his best impression of Santonio Holmes' toe-tap in Super Bowl XLIII, to win the game. He also gave us one of the best photos of the season.
Alright let's break this last one down.
Tech had caught TCU at the right time. With a banged up defense (understatement) Gary was forced to call upon a lot of inexperienced players into the line of fire against Tech's potent offense. This game was billed as a shootout with the over under being set at 90 total points scored. By the end of it, both teams accounted for 1,357 total yards, 107 points, 14 touchdowns, 2 field goals, 1 safety, and only 6 punts. TCU's defense looked undisciplined and vulnerable all afternoon, giving up 675 yards, and 110 yards in penalties.
By the start of the 4th quarter neither team allowed the other to break away to a comfortable lead. Then Tech scored with 5:55 left, after Justin Stockton took advantage of TCU's poor tackling and ran 50 yards for the touchdown. 52-48 Texas Tech. Things were looking bleak.
The Frogs then punted on their next drive and things looked even bleaker. With a little over four minutes left, how could we expect the struggling Frog defense to stop the Red Raiders- who had been having their way on offense all day- and give Boykin and company enough time to get us into a position to win the game? As we would learn later on in the season (while losing years off of our lives) we should never count a Gary Patterson coached team out of any game. The defense forced a three-and-out. Tech punts the ball.
"Is that a light at the end of the tunnel?"
TCU gets the ball back with 3:02 to go. 53 yards away from the end zone, the offense went back to work. A few Aaron Green runs later and then Trevone hit Doctson with a 16 yard beauty in between two defenders. But that had been the story all day: You can't stop Doctson. The Frogs were at the 8 yard line and knocking on Tech's door. The atmosphere in the stadium began to change.
"Is this real life or just a dream?"
Gary let the clock run, and TCU tries to run it in with Green, who gains four yards and forces Tech to call a timeout. Green runs it again, but only gains one yard. Tech calls another timeout. Boykin then runs the option, but decides to keep it and gets tackled for a loss, and TCU calls a timeout with 29 seconds to go. 4th & goal.
"I think I am going to have an ulcer."
Joey Hunt snaps the ball and time seems to slow to a crawl. Boykin dances around in the pocket. He looks left, sees two of those receivers are covered. He doesn't have time to notice a wide open Aaron Green in the middle of the end-zone. Trevone immediately looks for his security blanket, Josh Doctson, and he lets the football leave his hands. Doctson jumps up to get it...
But it was thrown too high and all Josh could do was barely get a hand on it as the home crowd erupts.
"Hello darkness my old fri.."
"I CAN'T FEEL MY FACE"
Of course the Tortilla gods almost answered Tech's prayers on the last play of the game, with the Raiders lateraling the ball and almost getting into the end-zone until Travin Howard knocked Jakeem Grant out of bounds at the 10 yard line. Frogs win 55-52.
I can safely say that without a doubt, that game was the most fun that I never want to have again.
Honorable Mention: The Miracle in San Antonio
Yes, this is technically a list for plays of the regular season, but there was no way I couldn't show some love to Bram and Gary for cooking up the biggest comeback in bowl history. You all know what happened, there was a wardrobe change, tears were shed, there might be a movie, and the Frogs won.
This season has been one to remember, filled with great player, moments, and plays that helped define it. Thank you all for following along with this countdown. To finish this all up I leave you with my favorite hype video of the season.
- Until next time