Every weekday until the opening week of the 2013 college football season, we will be counting down the Top 25 College Football Fails Ever – including but not limited to players, coaches, fans, officials, mascots and uniforms. (Note: FBS programs only.)
There are two notable “Fifth Down Games” in college football history: Cornell-Dartmouth in 1940 and Colorado-Missouri in 1990. Whereas the former was between two Ivy League foes in front of few fans, the latter was a nationally televised affair between Big Eight rivals – one in which the Buffaloes emerged triumphant, 33–31, after neither the officials, down marker volunteer, Missouri sideline or TV crew calling the game initially accounted for the fact that CU was given five downs to score the game-winning TD with no time left.
Colorado trailed, 31–27, but was deep in Missouri territory with time running out. QB Charles Johnson spiked the ball on first down to stop the clock. On second down, RB Eric Bieniemy was stopped just short of the goal-line and CU called a timeout — after which volunteer Rich Montgomery failed to change the down marker.
Bieniemy was stopped short again the next play, followed by another spike by Johnson the play after that with two seconds remaining. It should have been Tigers ball — but the down marker indicated fourth down. Taking advantage, Johnson squeaked into the end zone on a QB sneak the next play.
The officiating crew realized their mistake after the game but did not change the outcome. The group was suspended indefinitely for their faux pas. Adding fuel to the controversy is that Colorado — who moved to 3–1–1 on the year with the win — improbably ran the table the rest of the regular season, culminating in a controversial split national championship with Georgia Tech.
The “Fifth Down Game” is both one of college football’s most memorable moments and biggest blunders. It is also a more-than-worthy choice for the Biggest Fail in College Football History.
Top 25 College Football Fails Ever
#24: Duke Lays a Dookie
#23: Sooners Get Screwed
#22: CU’s Powder Blues
#21: Fly, CavMan, Fly!
#20: “Oh Neaux” for LSU
#19: White’s “Phantom TD”
#17: Bad “Safety Dance”
#14: Gone in a Flash
#13: Ginn Gets Got
#11: Not-so-Special Teams
#8: A Flop in Fresno