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College Football’s Top 10 Fails of 2012

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  • 10. 45-Yard Line Logo

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    The end of each college football season is a great excuse to look back on all its great memories and its great goofs. Since it’s so much for fun to write about the latter (and because it’s Lost Lettermen’s forte), we count down the Top 10 Fails of the season based on comedic value.

    D-II teams aren’t prone to generating headlines. At the start of 2012, the University of Minnesota Crookston was no different. An accidental paint job on the school’s home field changed that.

    The Golden Eagles’ had student volunteers paint the same “M” logo as its Twin Cities flagship school on the turf at Ed Widseth Field. Only they did so on the 45-yard line.

    All was not lost for the Golden Eagles. The day that their field faux pas first received attention, they won their Homecoming Game and snapped a 39-game conference losing streak.

  • 9. Nigel the Knucklehead

    Kansas State CB Nigel Malone had a very strong senior season for a Fiesta Bowl-bound Wildcats team. Alas, his most memorable moment of 2012 was also his most embarrassing.

    In the first quarter of KSU’s regular season finale against Texas on Saturday, Malone stepped in front of a pass by Longhorns QB David Ash and looked poised to open the scoring with a pick six. But like the Eagles’ Desean Jackson against the Cowboys in 2008, Malone made the mistake of discarding the football in celebration before he crossed the goal line.

    Officials had initially signaled “touchdown” but correctly overturned the call upon reviewing the video evidence. Thankfully for Malone, K-State got the ball at Texas’ half-yard line (the Longhorns had failed to recover the football after Malone discarded it) and scored on its next play.

  • 8. Zebra Trap

    Who knew that zebras were susceptible to being trapped in field goal nets?

    No, not actual zebras. During the second quarter of the Nebraska–Ohio State game on Oct. 6, the field judge hustled dutifully down the sideline to keep up with Cornhuskers WR Kenny Bell on a 78-yard pass play. Failing to keep his head on a swivel, the official ran straight into a field goal practice net on the sideline.

    The “zebra” nickname for officials never seemed more appropriate. The poor sideline judge looked like a recently ensnared animal on this play.

  • 7. Zero Height Zordich

    We give Penn State RB Michael Zordich partial credit for his confidence. Not many 236-pounders are under the impression that they can fly.

    Which is what Zordich tried to do when he faced off against Temple DB Vaughn Carraway in the teams’ Sept. 22 matchup. Zordich anticipated that the smaller Carraway would try to tackle him low, so he tried hurdling him. Only Carraway stood upright and flipped the leaping Zordich upside down and body slammed him to the turf.

    The Penn State senior reached two high points that day. 1) His 75 rushing yards against the Owls were a season high; and 2) That attempted hurdle was likely his maximum vertical leap.

  • 6. Yellow Jacket Stings Self

    Football is a game premised on decisiveness. Hesitation is often punished or mocked. Both of which befell Georgia Tech RB Orwin Smith against Miami (FL) on Sept. 22.

    The speedy senior was back to return a kickoff with his team trailing 10–0. Suffering an obvious brain cramp, you can almost see Smith going back and forth in his head whether to bring the ball out of the end zone. He finally decided to take a knee just short of the goal line.

    One problem: The ball had already crossed the plane, and the play resulted in a safety. Thankfully, Smith would make up for it with a regular season that saw him emerge as the Yellow Jackets’ leading rusher (673 yards) on a robust 9.0 YPC.

  • 5. Putting the “F” in Face Painting

    Let’s face it. When you think of schools defined by an intellectually stimulating environment, Florida State is not the first place that comes to mind.

    Which might explain one FSU fan’s inability to understand the concept of a mirror and her subsequent face paint fail. “FSU” appeared on both her cheeks. Backwards. Painted so because it appeared correct in the mirror she no doubt was looking at.

    At least, that’s what he hoped happened. If the fan wasn’t duped by a mirror, this mistake is even sadder.

  • 4. Overly Wily Wildcats

    We would have never pegged elderly Kansas State coach Bill Snyder as an “And One Mixtape” fan.

    That’s the best explanation we can think of for the attempted trick play the Wildcats ran against Miami (FL) on Sept. 8. With K-State up 24–3 just before halftime and on its way to a 52–13 rout, QB Collin Klein ran toward the line of scrimmage and pantomimed a Tebow-like jump pass, only to pitch the ball behind his back to a motioning Chris Harper.

    Well, it’s more like Klein tried pitching the ball to Harper. The ball bounded away, and when Harper wrapped it up, K-State had suffered a loss of 19 yards.

    For a player considered the Heisman Trophy front-runner for much of the season, needless to say, this was not a “Heisman Moment.”

  • 3. Boomer Blooper

    Few things went wrong for Oklahoma during its 63–21 demolition of Texas in the Oct. 13 edition of the Red River Shootout. But boy, did the Sooners make one of their goofs a memorable one.

    After OU scored on its first drive of the game, PK Michael Hunnicutt and holder Tress Way set up shop at the Longhorns’ 10-yard line for the PAT. Only Way couldn’t corral the snap, resulting in Hunnicutt’s goofily delayed kick to barely get airairborne be blocked easily by Texas.

    Not only that, the blocked PAT was returned 88 yards by the Longhorns’ Quandre Diggs, giving UT its first two points of the game. Thankfully for OU, it would prove to be UT’s only points of the entire first half. And Hunnicutt would miss only one other PAT attempt the rest of the regular season.

  • 2. Golden Flash of Un-Brilliance

    Kent State’s shocking run to an 11–2 record and wasn’t without the moments of ineptitude that long defined the moribund Golden Flashes program. Take the team’s first loss of the season, at Kentucky on Sept. 8, as an example.

    Trailing 24–14 in the third quarter, the Golden Flashes were backed up at their own end zone and tried a running play. But after receiving the handoff from QB Keith Spencer, RB Dri Archer tripped over Spencer’s left foot and fell into the end zone for a safety — despite being untouched by a UK player.

    It was a rare lowlight for Archer on the season. The junior averaged nine yards per carry in rushing for 1,352 yards and 15 TDs.

  • 1. Wrong Way Andre

    Yup, Kent State can claim both the No. 2 and No. 1 fails of the 2012 season. No wonder its 11-2 season took everyone by surprise.

    LB and special teamer Andre Parker was clearly excited for his team’s season opener against Towson on Aug. 30. Alas, his football instincts hadn’t yet rounded into game shape.

    At the tail end of the first half, Towson muffed a Kent State punt that was recovered by Parker. The sophomore scooped it up and promptly started running toward his own end zone. 58 yards in all. Even worse? Instead of Towson letting him keep running, the Tigers’ players inexplicably tackled Parker.

    And here’s the kicker: The play was dead as soon as Parker recovered the fumble, rendering his wrong way runback completely moot - to the relief of the linebacker.

    Everything from the TV announcers’ confusion over Parker’s run (“Wait a minute ... he’s running the wrong way”) to Parker’s realization of his blooper for the ages at the 32-second mark is sports comedic gold - and a literal runaway choice for College Football’s No. 1 Fail of the Year.

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