If there were a Trick Play Hall of Fame, Boise State’s Statue of Liberty play to beat Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl would undoubtedly be the first inductee. The “Bounce Pass” trick play deserves its own plaque, as does any including a player “fainting” or playing dead on a fake punt to distract the opposing team.
What makes trick plays so exciting is that no one sees them coming. There are 100,000 different ways a team can run them, whether that be with the regular offensive unit, the special teams unit or the kick return unit. Even Les Miles garnered the nickname “The Mad Hatter” at LSU because he ran so many successful fake field goals.
Creativity will land a play a spot in this made-up Trick Play Hall of Fame, and the Kansas Jayhawks may take the cake in that regard for the ‘camouflage’ trick play they ran in 2016.
The Camouflage Play
Kansas and Iowa State weren’t particularly good NCAA football teams when they faced each other on November 12, 2016. Both Big 12 teams were 1-8 and their seasons were essentially already over by the time they took the field at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas.
Kansas head coach David Beaty found his team ahead 14-10 in the second quarter when he figured it was time to bust out a wacky-as-hell trick play on the Cyclones’ kickoff.
Jayhawks wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez, in a blue-on-blue uniform, lied down in the blue end zone on one side. When the other Kansas kick returner caught the kick, he threw the ball across the field to Gonzalez, who went completely unnoticed.
Gonzalez didn’t score a touchdown, but the play worked to perfection. He hauled in the lateral at his own six-yard line and wasn’t pushed out of bounds until the 35-yard line for a pretty decent kickoff return.
“We knew they kicked opposite to him, so we had him lay down,” Beaty told ESPN. “They kicked it right on cue to the other guy and he stayed blended in to the color of our end zone.”
The college football coach’s magic ran out that game, though.
Kansas lost that game, 31-24. The Jayhawks finished the season 2-10, dropping games to Ohio, Memphis, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas State. Their two wins came against Rhode Island and…the Texas Longhorns.
You can decide for yourself if this type of play is legitimate according to the rulebook, but you can’t argue it’s a pretty ingenious trick play.
This post was originally published on April 27, 2020.