You’ve seen it, but have you really SEEN it. The fake punt executed by South Carolina on Saturday is magical, and not just because of what happens between the time the ball is snapped and the time 6’2″, 270-pound Melvin Ingram passes over the Georgia goal line.
It’s the small things that happen before, during and after that make it so very entertaining.
(Before we get into it, let’s just get it out there that it’s the greatest fake punt in the history of South Carolina football. Granted, I have done zero research on this, and the only other fake punt I can even think of is Ryan Succop’s accidental fake punt against Mississippi State in the first game of the 2006 season. But I’ve made my mind up, and refuse to be dissuaded.)
We’re going to walk through the video above to point out why this two minutes and fourteen seconds is so gloriously entertaining, but first let me set the scene for those of you who may have been in a beer- or bourbon- induced stupor.
Georgia had scored a touchdown to take a 13-7 lead, and followed that up with what was very nearly a successful onside kick attempt. Unfortunately for UGA, Baccari Rambo (the guy who doesn’t think Marcus Lattimore is that tough) was offsides by a shoelace, and after the re-kick USC ran three plays and faced a fourth down from their own 32-yard line. UGA used a timeout with 2:20 left in the half.
We’ll pick it up as ESPN comes back from commercial break (time code is from the YouTube video above):
- 00:00 – Mark Richt’s seventh choice for defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, is getting in the face of some UGA offensive linemen before they go back on the field. Grantham is the stereotypical loud-mouthed, red-faced, verge-of-a-stroke coordinator that can’t understand why his players aren’t half as dedicated and/or intense as he is. I can only imagine what he is saying to his barely interested players, “WE GOT YOU THE BALL BACK YOU SORRY SACKS OF @$&#%$!!! NOW GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING WITH IT!!!” This, in addition to his mini-fued with the HBC last year, makes what’s about to happen so much sweeter.
- 00:12 – By now the Gamecocks have seen the defensive/return alignment they were looking for, and the fake is on. I wish I knew what that was, but I only coach third-graders, and the UGA alignment looks pretty darned normal to me.
- 00:14 – Ingram takes the direct snap. Joey Scribner-Howard peels off to the right, as does the gunner, Stephon Gilmore, who takes two unaware UGA players with him. The right side of the line blocks as normal, while the left side gets on the outside shoulders of their men to create the hole for Ingram.
- 00:15 – Human tank Byron Jerideau takes aim on the one Bulldog the Gamecocks expected to be unoccupied. I can’t make out the number of the UGA player, but he’s small, so he takes the route of self-preservation and hits the deck when he sees Jerideau coming. Justice Cunningham is trailing Ingram, and I’m not sure if this is by design or if Ingram just got out of the blocks faster than Cunningham.
- 00:17 – Ingram is in the clear. At this point I’m thinking “first down, awesome”.
- 00:18 – Brandon Boykin, after briefly thinking “I got this”, has his life flash before his eyes and brain screams “HOLY MOTHER OF GOD NOOOOOOO!!” The future NFL cornerback hits the deck as well.
- 00:19 – Melvin Ingram direct quote, “Why would a little guy like that try to tackle me up high?”
- 00:21 – Unlike Jimmy Legree later in the game, Devonte Holloman says to self, “Whoa, he might score, I better block somebody.”
- 00:24 – Approximately ten seconds after the start of the play, Melvin Ingram scores from 68 yards out. Actually, he takes the snap at the 25-yard line, so he covers 75 yards, makes two guys miss, and outruns the last guy. 270 pounds. Full pads. All in ten seconds.
- 00:25 – Reggie Bowens strut.
- 00:27 – Ingram runs to the edge of the tunnel and ever so briefly you can see him salute the UGA faithful.
- 00:29 – Our first look at Hairy Dawg’s classic reaction.
- 00:32 – Mark Richt goes 1/3 of the way onto the field to retrieve his flung clipboard/play chart. Uncharacteristic for the normally stoic Richt (hot seeeeeeat). This is interesting, because as much as the HBC is known for throwing his visor, his clipboard-to-visor throwing ratio is about 10:1 since coming to USC. Maybe it’s catching on.
- 00:46 – Sean McDonough’s first mention of DeAngelo Smith (the other #6) as the actual touchdown maker.
- 00:51 – McDonough, confidently, “It appears to be DeAngelo Smith.”
- oo:56 – Ingram turns his back to the camera so we can see his name, and McDonough, slightly stunned, “No, it IS Ingram.”
- 1:00 – Shot of smug Spurrier. We LOVE smug Spurrier.
- 1:27 – Replay begins from overhead camera. Great angle, I wish we had more close-ups of the fans’ faces.
- 1:58 – We need to send this camera guy (or gal) a gift basket. He follows Ingram across the goal line, then immediately notices Hairy Dawg and focuses in on the stunned reaction. There are very few things funnier than than seeing a huge-headed cartoon mascot showing real human emotion. Someone needs to make a gif of that so we can use it as a UGA disappointment meme forever and ever.