Alright, folks. It’s Purdue Potluck time again. Jeff Brohm came riding into West Lafayette last year with a bevy of trick plays up his sleeve. A variety of flea flickers, fake punts, play action flea flic-- well, you get the point. There was more trickery going on than a group of teenagers at Halloween. Brohm at one point went on record that if one of his players had a trick play in mind, they’d draw it up and try to get it into the playbook for that week. At times, it felt like we were playing a video game rather than live college football. So we’ve got two questions for you:
- What’s your favorite trick play you like to see run during a game?
- What’s the best trick play you’ve ever seen your team run?
Dead Read: My favorite trick play is the bummerooski - a fake punt where an upback takes the snap and passes the ball between another player’s legs and runs towards the sideline. The ball carrier sits still until all the defenders run past him and then runs down the opposite sideline.
Here it is in 1975:
This was another one of my early favorites:
But “Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass” is the one that Husker fans cherish the most (Oklahoma tried it earlier in the game...it was incomplete).
MNW: I think one of my favorite things about fake plays, in addition to the coolness of “WOW, THAT PUNTER’S THROWING A FADE”, is the weird things you learn about the player making the play and how announcers spin it to have played a vital role in the play. “You know, /insert punter here was an all-state javelin thrower in high school,” or “this running back pitched a perfect game in 3rd grade T-ball” [Dead Read: “Nice”] or “this high school wrestler is playing quarterback like he’s been doing it all his life!” I can’t wait ‘til they dredge up some Purdue running back’s 5th grade “letter to future self” where he says “by the time I am 25, I will have run a trick play to beat Indiana #boilerup.” Pam Ward will nail that call.
I’m relatively sure Pat Fitzgerald just have the two fakes in his playbook, where one is “run a shitty and weirdly-timed fake field goal” and the other is “end around WR pass to a “superback” in the endzone.” I loved seeing the latter tie up the 2009 Outback Bowl and draw a DPI against Notre Dame in 2014, but there’s a soft spot in my heart for “Heater,” the fake that failed, ending the Outback Bowl. It was the right call.
Creighton: I hate to keep praising Nebraska for stuff, [Boilerman: Then stop it.] but I’ve always been partial to the fumbleroosi they ran against Miami. It fooled every single person in the stadium (including the camerman), and more importantly it was a fat man touchdown. Also, it looks hard as hell to pull off.
Dead Read claims to have been present for said Fat Man Touchdown.
Ferentz doesn’t run a lot of trick plays, but my favorite is definitely the polecat they ran against Ohio State last year. Iowa’s punter threw a pass to his own long snapper. It was hilarious, it worked, and it shredded the last bit of fight the Buckeyes had left in them. Iowa beat Ohio State 55-24 in that game by the way. Not sure if you were aware. [Narrator’s voice: I think we are now.]
AK: Can answer both questions with one clip:
That was the game when I knew for sure Dantonio would ultimately be a success at MSU.
Graham: I love the wrong side punt return, which is an oddly popular trick play these days. It’s so simple, and plays off the apparently well known fact that no one looks at the ball which has been kicked.
WSR: I love a great fake FG, because it means that a coach is forsaking NFLAIDS and the desire to just score enough points to win to actually try to score touchdowns and be entertaining. And the best fake FG I’ve ever seen?
And as for my team, well trick plays aren’t always our friend. The most successful one I can think of was ol’ Grinnin’ Glen calling a Flea Flicker up 21 on Southwest Texas State in the opener in 2002. I’m sure he had his reasons for calling it, too.
babaoreally: My favorite trick play to see during a game is the fake flea flicker. It’s just so much fun to watch. It only works if the defense is really worried about a flea flicker. If they are playing the run straight up, then the RB just stops for a second and gets tackled. Purdue ran this in a Spring Game and then scored on it against Rutgers.
My favorite trick play that I have watched in person was the hook and ladder that Purdue ran against Michigan in 2008. That was a lot of fun. This clip is great, albeit shaky, especially when J Leman seems to imply that a Hail Mary is a trick play.
Boilerman: For the record, the answer we were looking for was the fake victory formation play by Purdue against Arizona in last year’s Foster Farms Bowl.
Tell us what your favorite trick plays are in the comments, or we will assume that you are no fun and don’t like trick plays.