FROM THE SIDELINE — As football games get longer and longer, it’s becoming harder to identify the key plays that determine a winner and loser on any given Saturday in college football.
Fortunately, this weekend gave us three can’t-miss plays from the gridiron — including two from the Beehive State.
Let’s start in St. George and work our way north. As always, click the video above for more Great Clips of the Week.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Dixie State football is on a roll.
The Trailblazers are 7-2, including a 6-2 mark in their final season of Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play in the first year of head coach Paul Peterson.
And while Dixie won’t transition to Division I until next July — the Trailblazers will become an FCS independent in football and join the Western Athletic Conference in all other sports — that hasn’t stopped the squad from making plays right now.
Take Saturday’s 42-23 win over Colorado Mesa, for example.
The Trailblazers were down 21-7 at halftime, but stormed back with a 21-0 run on the arm of Bingham High product (and former BYU commit) Keaton Mott. With 10:11 left, Sei-J Lauago ripped off an 81-yard touchdown run to give the Trailblazers the lead for good, 35-32.
But that wasn’t the play of the game. It was the game-sealing interception, when Kaelin Smith-Bejgrowicz tipped a pass to former Layton High standout J.T. Anderson to help Dixie State hold on.
The play was so good, it made it on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 late Saturday night — at No. 1.
The Trailblazers are at Colorado School of Mines next Saturday, Nov. 9, before the team’s final home game Saturday, Nov. 16, at noon against Adams State.
Illegal ref screen
Lost in BYU’s 42-14 road rout of Utah State, or the sure-to-be-upcoming three-way quarterback race between Zach Wilson, Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney, or the call that many on BYU Twitter will make to #ExtendKalani, was Lopini Katoa.
The redshirt sophomore from American Fork ran for 42 yards and a touchdown, and caught a team-high four passes for 129 yards in the Cougars’ win that pulled them within two games of bowl eligibility Saturday night. But that’s easy to do when you have an extra blocker down field.
Look at the way this official sets a perfect screen on Utah State’s Justus Te'i during one move downfield.
So what if he tripped? That’s just a good teammate right there — sacrificing his body for the good of the team.
Houdini Hail Mary
The best finish of the college football weekend, though, likely came from a game you weren’t watching.
In front of a nationally-streamed audience on ESPN+, Dartmouth’s bid for a perfect season hung in the balance. The Big Green trailed Ivy League rival Harvard 6-3 with one play remaining — and Dartmouth quarterback Derek Kyler stepped out of a sure sack to release one final bomb.
And Masaki Aerts came down with it in the end zone — even if the broadcast crew lost the Hail Mary attempt as time expired.
It’s the play everyone is clamoring to see! Derek Kyler with the @JPosnanski Houdini effort to escape the rush, Masaki Aerts hauls it in for the GW TD in the end zone as time expires! #DartFB@IvyLeague#SCTop10#IvyTop5pic.twitter.com/TzSDrWxDsY— Dartmouth Football (@DartFootball) November 2, 2019
Here’s the final play from field level, complete with the emotional home-team radio call, as the Big Green improved to 7-0 on the season.
Don’t believe it? Neither did we.