New Orleans (Sun Belt) - The Sun Belt Conference's Top Ten Plays will be selected from this final list. Each member institution submitted up to ten nominations and write-ups in early September and the schools trimmed down their preliminary lists to the final list below. These nominations are now available for fan voting until December 6. To vote for your list of Top Ten Plays please go to: https://secure.sportssystems.com/events2/?eventKey=7ea73a09-da78-43de-8f00-b7d265c45f29
Leonard-to-Jones Touchdown Gives Red Wolves Win at Texas A&M
Arkansas State ushered in the era of the Red Wolves with arguably its biggest victory ever when quarterback Corey Leonard connected with wideout Kevin Jones from 15 yards out to put ASU on top of Texas A&M 15-14 with 4:39 to play, in what would eventually be an 18-14 Red Wolves victory.
Leonard's Hail Mary Stuns Memphis
With the clock reading :00, Arkansas State receiver Patrick Higgins jumped high in the end zone among a throng of Memphis defenders to catch a 53-yard pass from quarterback Corey Leonard to lead Arkansas State to a come-from-behind 26-23 victory over the University of Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.
Warren's TD at North Texas Gives ASU SBC Championship
Tailback Antonio Warren scored on a one-yard run with 30 seconds remaining to lift Arkansas State to a 31-24 victory at North Texas, giving the Red Wolves a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl.
Tavious Polo Three Interceptions
Florida Atlantic entered the game 1-1 and was the host of Minnesota at Dolphin Stadium. The two teams traded scores. Tied at 14 Minnesota's defense was the first to end a drive. The Gophers took possession at the FAU 47. With just 4:52 remaining in the half, FAU freshman Tavious Polo, playing his first season as a corner after playing wide receiver his entire high school career, made a beak and intercepted Adam Weber at the FAU 26. The teams traded possessions and ended the first quarter tied at 14. FAU scored 21 unanswered points in the second. Trailing 35-14 Tavious Polo ended a Minnesota four-play drive with his second interception of the game and his career with Minnesota on the FAU 30. FAU went into the half leading 35-14 after forcing four turnovers.
The Gophers returned from the locker room to score 10 unanswered points and pull within 11 points heading into the final period. With :30 seconds remaining Minnesota began the final drive of the game, trailing 42-39 at its own 25. The Gophers marched to the FAU 47 before Polo grabbed his third interception of the day, but more importantly Polo sealed the 42-39 victory for the Owls. It marked the first victory, in the program's history, over a BCS team and the first time a Sun Belt team had defeated a Big Ten squad. Polo would earn the FAU defensive Game Ball, the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week and the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week honors in just his third collegiate game. He would end the year with seven interceptions and Freshman All-America honors.
Willie Rose Toss Right
Florida Atlantic's football team had enjoyed a magical season through 11 games. The Owls had upset Minnesota at Dolphin Stadium. Tavious Polo had earned Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week honors. Rusty Smith had earned recognition by USAToday as the Offensive Player of the Week. FAU had hosted its first sellout and nearly pulled a second upset this time against No. 6 USF. There were more overtime or last minute scares than any coach would like to admit. With all of the accomplishments the season still came down to one game, FAU at Troy. The Owls had never defeated Troy, in four tries and three at Troy. The closest game was in 2006, a seven point decision, 24-17.
With a two point cushion (14-12) mid-way in the third, sophomore Rusty Smith tossed right on second and nine to fullback William Rose. Rose dashed through the Trojan defense for a career long 41 yards for the score. The run and the touchdown gave FAU the momentum to add a second score four minutes later building a much needed cushion, being outscored 20-10 in the final quarter.
FAU held on for a 38-32 victory and the Sun Belt Conference championship and berth to the 2007 New Orleans Bowl.
Alfred Morris' Rush to Vault into the League's Rushing leader
Florida Atlantic's hope for a third-straight bowl appearance was dashed with a 4-7 record. One game remained and it would be a game of pride. The Owls would travel to in-state rival FIU to play for the first time in the Panthers new stadium. FIU stood at 3-8 and once again the win would shape the off-season and recruiting. But there was one more thing to accomplish and it was a first for the young FAU program. FAU sophomore running back Alfred Morris could become the first FAU player, in the program's history, to lead the Sun Belt in rushing, something that was not even a thought prior to the season's opener, when Morris was making the transition from fullback to running back. It was the senior laden offensive line that set the goal and made the commitment that Alfred Morris would rush for more than 120 yards to secure the rushing title. FAU was up 21-14 with 5:40 remaining in the contest. Jeff Van Camp's pass to Jason Harmon was complete and an FIU penalty was assessed to give FAU a first down on the FIU 44.
Next up, Alfred Morris. Morris rushed for four, rushed for nine and then one. Van Camp kept for a gain of 10 shaking up the offensive line and its goal for Morris. Back to Morris who obliged with a 20-yard TD to secure the game, Morris was greeted in the end zone by the offensive line who informed the humble runner of "their" accomplishments.
The Owls would hold the final 2:23 for a 28-21 Shula Bowl victory.
Down by six with just 2:04 left on the clock against TY Hilton threw a touchdown to help FIU beat Arkansas State 22-21. Hilton's pass came off a broken play in which he fumbled on a reverse call, picked up the ball, scrambled and launched a wobbly pass to Junior Mertile for a 38-yard touchdown. The touchdown sent the FIU Homecoming crowd into a frenzy and went down in FIU lore as "The Hilton Heave."
Hilton Delivers on a promise
When TY Hilton turned down offers from BCS schools to attend FIU, he made a promise to head coach Mario Cristobal. On signing day, Hilton told his coach that he would score the first time he touched the football. In FIU's 2008 season-opener against Kansas, Hilton delivered on that promise. In the second quarter, Hilton went back to return a punt and took it 74 yards for a score. It was the first of many exciting plays to come from Hilton.
Hilton Stuns the Crimson Tide
Leading up to FIU's season-opener against heavily favored Alabama, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban warned the media about Hitlon's explosiveness. On Hilton's first touch of the game, everyone found out exactly why. In the first quarter, Hilton took a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, marking the second consecutive year that Hilton scored on his first touch of the year.
Albrecht's first career attempt, only from 48 yards and only beats K-State with 32 ticks left
Nerves of steel needed when your first career field goal attempt comes with 32 seconds remaining in the game, is from 48 yards, is on a wet surface, will either win or lose the game and has upset implications. Add in the fact that Tyler Albrecht nearly lost the starting kicker job to a redshirt freshman during fall camp and his game-winning field goal against Kansas State in nothing short of legendary.
Fenroy bursts through the line to claim his fourth 1,000-yard rushing season - just the 7th in history
Just six players in the history of college football had ever had four 1,000-yard rushing seasons, until Tyrell Fenroy became the seventh on Nov. 1, 2008. In doing so, Fenroy joined the most elite rushing list in NCAA history. Some of college football's most famous running backs - Archie Griffin, Bo Jackson, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders and Ricky Williams - do not appear on the list. Fenroy was the 16th player in NCAA history to have three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons to begin career during his junior campaign of 2007. In the post-game press conference, Fenroy entered sporting a red t-shirt with the words "Mr. 4000" across the chest.
Desormeaux gets 1,000 yards rushing for the second straight season - just the 8th QB in history
Cajuns quarterback Michael Desormeaux topped 1,000 yards for the second straight season on Dec. 3, 2008. Desormeaux joined seven other collegiate quarterbacks who can boast back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing campaigns. He is the Sun Belt career leader in rushing yards by a quarterback - nearly 1,000 yards in front of the competition and is the only player in SBC history with 2,500 yards rushing and 3,500 yards passing. For his efforts in 2008, Desormeaux was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year.
James Truxillo Forced Fumble at Alabama
With ULM hanging on to a 21-14 lead over Alabama late in the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide appeared as if they were going to tie the game as they were on a promising drive deep in ULM territory. After three plays that averaged 17.3 yards each brought the Crimson Tide down to the ULM 19-yard line, James Truxillo forced what will go down as one of the biggest fumbles in ULM history. With Alabama facing a 2nd-and-1, Truxillo ripped the ball out of running back Jimmy John's hands and Alabama native Darrius Battles fell on the ball to give the Warhawks possession with just 4:41 to play in the game. The Warhawks would go on to defeat the Crimson Tide 21-14.
Kinsmon Lancaster 11-yard Touchdown Pass to Marty Humphrey at Alabama
Nobody in Bryant-Denny Stadium thought that a touchdown with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter would ever mean so much. With ULM facing a 3rd-and-10 from the Alabama 11-yard line, Kinsmon Lancaster found Marty Humphrey for Humphrey's only touchdown catch of the season. With the ULM defense standing its ground - the Warhawks didn't allow an Alabama point over the final 42 minutes of the game - Lancaster's strike to Humphrey proved to be the game-winning score in ULM's thrilling 21-14 upset of Alabama.
Calvin Dawson 31-yard Touchdown Run at Florida Atlantic
In what was one of the wildest games in Sun Belt history, one of the league's best-ever running backs ended the game with a thrilling play. Calvin Dawson's game-winning run came with the Warhawks facing a 2nd-and-16 on the 31-yard line and trailing by three in the third overtime - ULM's all-time leading rushing turned the corner and tip-toed the sideline for the touchdown. ULM's thrilling victory over the Owls was the only Sun Belt Conference blemish on Florida Atlantic's record as it went on to claim the league title that year.
Jeremiah Weaver blocked field goal at Vanderbilt in 2005
Middle Tennessee traveled to Vanderbilt to take on the 4-0 Jay Cutler led Commodores. The Blue Raiders led 17-15 and VU took over from its own 1-yard line with 2:47 to play. Cutler led the Commodores all the way to the MT 18-yard line with 3 seconds left and would attempt a 36-yard field goal. Senior Jeremiah Weaver came storming in from the right side to cleanly block the FG attempt and send Middle Tennessee to a dramatic victory.
Malcolm Beyah "Hail Mary" catch vs FAU in 2008
Trailing 13-7, the Blue Raiders started their final drive at their own 35-yard line with 1:15 left to play and no timeouts. QB Joe Craddock and freshman receiver Malcolm Beyah teamed to provide the "Murfreesboro Miracle" on a play called "Hope". Craddock threw the game-tying pass to Beyah in the right corner of the endzone with no time left to give the Blue Raiders an improbable victory on national television. It marked the first time in school history the Blue Raiders had won a game on the final play of regulation.
Alan Gendreau last second field goal at Maryland in 2009
Trailing 31-29 at Maryland with 1:30 to play, Middle Tennessee went 73 yards in eight plays with no timeouts left to set up a possible game-winning field goal. With :02 seconds left, Alan Gendreau came on and hit a 19-yard field goal as time expired to give the Blue Raiders a second straight upset of the Terps.
Casey Fitzgerald 99-yard Touchdown
With North Texas pinned back at their own 1-yard line, wide receiver Casey Fitzgerald had a 99-yard reception against ULM. The reception ties for the longest play in NCAA history and is a Sun Belt Conference record.
Hall to Marshall Game Winning Touchdown
In 2001, North Texas trailed 20-16 at New Mexico State with less than two minutes to play. Facing a fourth-down and two with no timeouts left and 30 seconds remaining, George Marshall caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Scott Hall to lift North Texas to a 22-20 win. The win catapulted the Mean Green to the 2001 Sun Belt Conference title.
100-Yard Fumble Return
The Mean Green's 19-game conference winning streak was in jeopardy until T.J. Covington returned a Utah State fumbled 100-yards for a touchdown to secure the 20th straight league win. The fumble return ties longest in NCAA history and is the longest recorded play in North Texas history.
Louissaint's Rumbling Touchdown against Missouri
RB DeWhitt Betterson fumbled in the second quarter of the Trojan's nationally-televised showdown with the 19th-ranked Tigers. Fortunately, the ball landed in the hands of senior offensive lineman Junior Louissaint, who rumbled 63-yards for a touchdown to start a stretch of 24 unanswered points in Troy's 24-14 victory.
The Miracle in Murfreesboro - Hampton Upside-down Catch
Smokey Hampton lands on his head, making a 19-yard catch from Omar Haugabook on fourth down for a first down late in the fourth quarter of "The Miracle in Murfreesboro", setting up the game-winning score seconds later.
The Miracle in Murfreesboro - Onside Kick
Sophomore Henry Chubb comes out of a scrum at the MTSU 42 yard line with a recovery of an onside kick, setting the stage for the last-second game-winning score.