Sitting on the top row of the Superdome, my most pressing thought just before Laremy Tunsil's Sugar Bowl touchdown stroll was that we needed to kick the field goal. But before I could get #madinperson, the king of all Hugh Freeze's Hugh Freeze plays unfolded and caused me and everyone else wearing red and blue to throw up four fingers on both hands and let loose a steady stream of Ric Flair "WOOOOOOOOO"*.
*Or maybe that was just me
If you recall, Ole Miss was leading 27-6 and had the ball on its own 26-yard line with just 1:17 to play until halftime. Seven plays later, the Rebels were on Oklahoma State's 5-yard line with five seconds left. Chad Kelly had just faked the spike play and threw into the end zone, which ticked off both Hugh Freeze and precious seconds from the clock.
So with time for only one more play, Ole Miss could kick the field goal and have a pretty certain three points (obligatory: #CollegeKickers), take a shot at the end zone and come away with seven points and a dominating lead, or fail at that end zone shot and end up with zero points and lots of people like me screaming about what goes through Freeze's mind.
As we know, Freeze opted for the end zone, which gave the world a gift that will never stop giving:
Watching it live from the other end of the field and at significant elevation, I assumed it was a pass, but after the tiny Superdome jumbotrons showed that it was in fact a backwards lateral (seriously, bros, get a jumbotron that takes up at least a city block, as required by SEC bylaws), I realized what a clever play it was. Now that I've seen the above replay roughly the same number of times as the combined total value of Laquon Treadwell's and Laremy Tunsil's first NFL contracts, we can dig into what happened before, during, and after the play.
First, here's the initial alignment.
As you can see, Oklahoma State did a real good job of not doing a real good job. They aren't lined up correctly, and if SWAG had flipped the ball out to Cody Core at the top of the screen, Treadwell would've moved that DB out of the way and we would've enjoyed a Core touchdown instead of a Tunsil touchdown.
Instead, SWAG, being the charitable person that he is, stuck with the play and gave Oklahoma State a chance to correct whatever it was doing earlier.
In Oklahoma State's defense, having three people eyeballing Treadwell is not the worst defensive idea (though given how he played Friday night, I'd probably still take Treadwell in 3-on-1 situation).
Other than Oklahoma State finally getting lined up correctly, the main thing to note is that Evan Engram and Hunter Thurley (subject of this famous profile) have shifted to the other side of the formation, dragging a safety and linebacker with them.
But Ole Miss is not done shifting.
Jaylen Walton takes the last person with good speed away from the area of the field where Ole Miss wants to get the ball to a large man with not great speed. We actually ran this exact same formation and motion on the opening drive when SWAG threw his one interception. Oklahoma State played zone underneath on that pick, but Freeze was JUST SETTING IT UP FOR THE LONG CON.
Now the cleverness of the play starts to come to light, complete with fake blocking.
With SWAG rolling to his right, Ole Miss just needs the right side of the line and tight ends to keep the pass rushers at bay for a few seconds, which they do. The left side, including center Ben Still, has to take a quick moment to pretend like they're blocking, then get a clean release without revealing that PAIN AND SUFFERING ARE ABOUT TO SMASH THE COWBOYS' DEFENSE IN THE FACE.
Oh, and it would be real swell if Still and Aaron Morris could get out in front of Tunsil to lead the way.
Minus the trio of Ole Miss offensive linemen, everyone on the field is moving to the right, creating acres of space for Tunsil and friends over on the left. That part of the design also made the play fairly dangerous, as SWAG was guaranteed very little time to avoid rushers, and would almost certainly be throwing blindly back across the field to someone who has caught zero passes in his college career.
Fortunately for Ole Miss, Oklahoma State believed in the sprint-out pass more than Ed Orgeron believed he would get Ole Miss to the Sugar Bowl. Well, except for a lone defender.
What's really overlooked here is that even with all of SWAG's momentum taking him to the right side and a dude hanging on his back, he was still able to get enough on the pass that Tunsil didn't have to adjust to the ball.
Things went so well that Ben Still and Aaron Morris, who busted their meaty hindquarters to get out in front of Tunsil to crush any foes in the way, had no one to block.
Not wanting to be left out of the girth convoy to the end zone, Justin Bell enters the picture.
Words are nice, but they can't relay that power of seeing a special moment with your own eyes. I can tell you that things went so well that Ben Still had room to attempt an offensive lineman's interpretation of figure skating's triple axel, but it would be best if I let the pictures show you.
6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
Still wasn't the only person ready to dance. What about the touchdown-scorer himself?
Ole Miss fans in that end zone (I HATE ALL OF YOU JK I'M JUST REALLY JEALOUS) responded accordingly.
If you thought you and your fellow Ole Miss fans were getting TURNT AND A HALF, let's take a look at the Ole Miss players, who decided to HAVE A DANG TEAM MEETING IN THE END ZONE.
We should remember that each team is only allowed 11 players on the field. Ole Miss doubled that up in less than 10 seconds after Tunsil reached the back of the end zone, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty about which exactly -40,000 people on Ole Miss' side of the field cared.
As for Laremy, GET THIS MAN A WATER AND ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN ASAP.
Godspeed, King Tunsil. May your NFL reign last a decade or two and include multiple max contracts.