There’s a point to be made here.
To do so requires context.
So, I start with the rabbit Jeff Brohm pulled from his Boilermaker hardhat, to push his Purdue squad up two scores in their eventual upset of Sparty Saturday afternoon.
It was a start to the left, back to the right, double reverse, flea flicker screen back to the left, where the receiver had a convoy of linemen perfectly formulated to pave his way down field, until he had to cut diagonally, to cross the goal line by the right sideline.
The point: Every team needs some trickeration. Crazy plays prepared just in case.
Some previously secreted sleight of hand.
Boise State’s Statue of Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl to down Boomer Sooner.
Bobby Bowden always had something up his sleeve, just in case. Almost like there was a student manager following him around on the sideline with a trick bag. Like that military guy who always has the nuclear codes in a locked valise by the president.
When Louisville needed something a bit different, a play against its tendencies, something odd for the moment that was at hand, it didn’t.
Clemson 30, Louisville 24.
* * * * *
That U of L, just having relinquished yet another 4th Q lead, had the ball 1st & Goal at the Clemson 2, with plenty enough time on the clock — maybe too much had they been able to tally — was astonishing in and of itself.
Just before, down three, the Cards went for it on 4th down, when they were backed up deep in their own territory. Clemson held, securing the ball on a short field.
But U of L’s D held the visitors to a FG, and a surmountable six point lead with 2:19 to play.
Plenty of time. But Malik Cunningham was running on one wheel.
And, isn’t Clemson’s Brent Venables venerated as college pigskin’s reigning Defensive Dalai Lama?
But, for a few moments anyway, there was magic in the air.
On the Cards first play at its own 25, Malik Cunningham found Tyler Harrell 45 yards down field, and the speedy wideout made a proverbial circus catch.
A Cunningham scramble, gave the Cardinals a 4th & 1 at the Tigers’ 21. Then another instant of Geez, the Cards Might Really Pull This Off. Under duress, Cunningham hit Justin Marshall on the right sideline the nanosecond before he fell out of bounds.
After those stomach churning moments of anxiety during a booth review: First & Goal at the 2. 1:01 on the clock.
I’ll spare the remaining details.
Four pretty ordinary plays. And Done.
Something different was called for.
A play worked on since August, held under lock and key for just a situation.
A Floyd Street Special.
Something that would have confused the Tigers, and provided Louisville with its first victory ever over Clemson.
Sigh. Houdini was not in the house.
This one hurts.
— c d kaplan