People who watch my videos know I have kind of a fetish for the fake punt (and it’s not just in these videos. The overpowered EA Sports fake punt joke started way back in the Madden 2002 franchise from the first part of this year). Each week, generally one or two gutsy (read: desperate) coaches choose to take their chances on fourth down and catch the opposing team off guard. Sometimes, these work well. Sometimes, these work far too well.
Sometimes you hire Charlie Weis and he does this.
The fake punt, unlike the fake field goal, is unique because it so rarely leads to an immediate touchdown. When it does, it’s amazing, but typical fake punts are only called with 50+ yards between the line of scrimmage and the goal line. The ideal fake punt only staves off death, hardly ever brings prosperity. It typically puts a man whose job is either only to stand still and kick OR only to stand in block into playmaking position. Whether it’s a quick scamper leading to a 130 pound man running full-speed into a 300 pound wall of human flesh, said 300 pound human motoring his 300 pound body at a top speed, a man whose career is built upon his right leg using the strength of his arm, some bizarre combination of all of these, or just, whatever, I don’t know, the fake punt is the definition of leaving the comfort zone – When a fake punt is called, the rules change, the world changes, everything is wrong.
So far in 2015, I have seen three due to diligent scouting online. There are probably more, sure, but these are the ones that stand out. At the end of the year, the #FAKEPUNTALERT champion will be crowned.
Opponent: Florida State (Week 1)
Score: FSU 14-0 Texas State
Result: Field Goal
This punter just sorta has wheels. I respect that – When you can beat ’em on your feet, you can take chances like this. Also, when you’re clearly going to lose to a team by 40, you can’t really get scrutinized for taking chances like this. It didn’t lead to anything other than making this blowout a little less blowout, but, still good effort.
Opponent: Georgia (Week 2)
Score: Georgia 0-0 Vanderbilt
Result: Later Punt
Even a good failed-punt-turned-recovered-fake-punt means little if it only leads to a punt. At least get a field goal, or at least get an attempt at a field goal, come on. This is nothing more than a delayed punt, and is thus irredeemable. Even if it gets Verne hyped.
(yeah I know I did it in portrait. I intended for it to be a vine. It won’t happen again)
Opponent: Missouri (Week 3, today)
Score: UCONN 6-2 Mizzou
Result: Later Turnover on Downs (After recovery of later muffed punt)
Okay well this was – Jesus Christ, 6-2? The score was Six Points to Two Points. The game ended up Six Points to Nine Points. Neither team even made a field goal and the end score was 6-9. That’s just horrible. That’s the Lex Luthor stealing Forty Pies of college football. This game was the Bubsy 3D of a college football game – Everything possible that could’ve been done wrong was somehow done worse than you ever thought possible. And yet, it was strangely entertaining. That’s why I can’t rate this fake punt lowly – In the narrative of the game, it’s perfect. Mizzou really looked like they were going to lose this game due to plays like this. This game even ended on the Fake Punt’s cousin – A failed Fake Field Goal. If it weren’t for this fake punt, this game would not have been quite the trainwreck it ended up being. It’s like the watered-down Café Mocha you drink at the gate before your delayed and turbulent flight back home from an interesting place. It still would’ve sucked without this, but it just makes the story more interesting.
Follow @FakePuntAlert for these fake punts tweeted RIGHT TO YOUR PHONE/COMPUTER/E-MAIL INBOX