Point-counterpoint: Scoop-and-Score vs. Kick-Six
The following is an argument for why the 2013 Auburn vs. Alabama game’s “Kick-Six” was the greatest finish in the history of college football, as written by Saturday Down South’s Talal Elmasry. Saturday Tradition’s Connor O’Gara wrote the counterpoint for why the Michigan State vs. Michigan game’s “Scoop-and-Score” was even better.
Why the Kick-Six is the greatest ending ever:
By TALAL ELMASRY
Saturday Down South
None of us could even fathom the aftermath. Alabama was No. 1. It was undefeated. It was the defending national champions. And in a second — literally one second that was put back on the clock after Nick Saban demanded it from the refs — any hope of the Tide winning another SEC title or national championship was wiped away.
Oh, and that was the last game of the regular season, and it came in arguably the biggest rivalry in college football.
Obviously, both plays were excruciating for the teams on the losing end. However, think about the agony of watching an opposing player run the entire length of the field — 109 yards — for the game-winning touchdown when, if anything, your team was the one in position to win.
Now I know what you’re going to say. The Scoop-and-Score gets the edge because of the script that was flipped from the winners’ perspectives. Michigan State didn’t think it had a chance in heck to win while Auburn certainly did, and that’s fair.
Alabama kicker Adam Griffith was a redshirt freshman at the time, and he was 1-for-2 in his career kicking field goals with his one make coming from 20 yards. For Griffith, making a 57-yarder with everything at stake against an arch-rival may have been just as unlikely as Chris Davis’ TD return. Auburn, and Alabama for that matter, were expecting overtime.
However, that didn’t make the play any more shocking. First of all, when has a missed field goal returned for a touchdown ever decided the outcome in a game of that magnitude that isn’t Arena Football? Even as Davis was making magic happen, there were two instances where you thought he might be tackled or he might step out of bounds as he tight-roped the sidelines.
Still, Davis — who was put in the game in place of Ryan Smith during the timeout in which Gus Malzahn was icing Griffith — used his running instincts and athleticism to navigate through 21 other players on the field.
The best way to sum up the Kick-Six is the amazement. Despite having to trek 109 yards, Davis still managed to do it before we could fully realize that “Auburn’s gonna win the football game!”
Why the Scoop-and-Score is the greatest ending ever:
By CONNOR O’GARA
The game was over.
Michigan players were celebrating on the sidelines after the defense stopped Connor Cook and the Spartans on fourth down. Fans were filing out of the stadium. Desmond Howard gave the biased thumbs up on camera.
The Big House was ready to erupt. Bring on the College Football Playoff talk. Bring on Ohio State. Bring on any doubters that laughed when Michigan fans said they’d return to prominence.
The Wolverines were back. All they had to do was punt the ball as a formality.
Then Jalen Watts-Jackson took a machete to all of that.
Ten seconds. That’s it. The most stunning, improbable, did-you-see-that, unimaginable in the history of college football happened. You can have your kick-six. You can have your Cal-Stanford play. I’ll take the scoop-and-score.
Crazy as it sounds, both of these teams had realistic national title aspirations coming into Saturday. Had Michigan avoided that disaster, all we’d be hearing about right now is how Jim Harbaugh is going to lead the Wolverines to an upset of Ohio State. Michigan State, on the other hand, kept its national title hopes alive in the most improbable way against its “big brother.”
That infamous “big brother” comment has been fueling one of the nation’s best rivalries for the last five years. Still, no game in this rivalry’s 105-year history had the hype heading into it that Saturday’s did.
All of that is true. But I know what Iron Bowl purists would say.
“Well, both Auburn and Alabama hate each other and were playing to keep national title hopes alive.”
That is correct. But when Alabama was getting ready to attempt that 57-yard field goal, what was the score? It was tied. Auburn still would’ve had a shot to win it in overtime with a normal missed kick.
Michigan State was finished.
That was literally the only thing that could happen for the Spartans to win. Do you really think Blake O’Neill was punting that ball in bounds? Time would’ve run out with a routine punt.
The Kick-Six was still anybody’s game at the time of Alabama’s field goal. That was 99.9 percent Michigan’s game. And the one possible thing that the Spartans needed to happen happened.
It’s the biggest flip of the script in the history of college football. That, ultimately, is what will allow that play to live on as the greatest ending we’ve ever seen.