At long last, we’ve reached the final play in our Top Ten countdown. After countless hours in the film room, we’ve pinpointed what we consider to be THE definitive top play from the 2013 football season.
This play has it all - excellent blocking by the offensive line, solid throwing mechanics by Vad Lee, high stakes game AND season implications, and even a little throwback to a former Georgia Tech great.
The magic happens late in the Pittsburgh game, a game that the Jackets (5-3) desperately need to win to become bowl eligible. With the only games left on the schedule being a road game at Clemson and home matchups against Alabama A&M (which wouldn’t count towards bowl eligibility) and georgia, a loss would back Tech and its bowl streak into a pretty tight corner.
The Situation: Tech holds a 14-10 lead in a scrappy game with the Pittsburgh Panthers on homecoming night in Atlanta. The Jackets haven’t seen the endzone since the six-minute mark in the second quarter.
It’s Tech ball, 3rd and 17 from their own 46 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Failing to pick up the first down could give Pitt a chance to steal a last-second win.
Vad Lee stands in the gun. He’s completed just one of his last six pass attempts.
The Play: Vad takes the snap and drops back while his receivers take off on deep routes with the exception of Robbie Godhigh, who runs a flat out to the left. The offensive line plus running backs Deon Hill and David Sims do an excellent job giving their quarterback time to look down field.
Standing with his back foot on the 35 yard line, Vad unleashes a bomb – and I mean bomb – towards receiver DeAndre Smelter on the right side of the field.
However, Pittsburgh defensive backs Ray Vinopal and Lafayette Pitts are all over Smelter. Worse, the ball is a bit underthrown, causing Smelter to have to slow down turn around right in the middle of the two DBs. For a moment, it appears as though the ball is going to be either intercepted or batted down.
(Even if you’re at work, you owe it to yourself to turn the volume up for this one – we chose to embed this video instead of using gif just so you all could hear the greatness of the call.)
Then, the unthinkable happens, and the 52,000 fans in attendance witness the second coming of Calvin Johnson. Smelter squares up in between the two defenders, leaps into the air amidst a thicket of reaching arms, and high-points the ball, snagging and securing it cleanly before falling to the ground at the fifteen yard line. This play set up a touchdown run by Godhigh a few players later that ultimately clinched the game – and a bowl berth – for the Jackets.
There you have it! Our top play of the 2013 season. What’s your top play from last season? Thanks for being a part of this miniseries, and here’s to a great 2014 season chock-full of so many great plays that we’ll have to do a Top 20 Plays next year.