“Michael Geiger’s 41-yard field goal on a cold, rainy night in Columbus was only the beginning of an instant classic moment for Michigan State and its fans.
Geiger’s performance made us thumb through the memory banks for other memorable walk-off celebrations. This list includes only games won as time expired, so as iconic as it was to see Desmond Howard strike the Heisman pose in ’91 or the entire Georgia bench party in the end zone against Florida in 2007 you won’t find them here. Reggie Bush’s flip into end zone in ’04 and Golden Tate’s leap into the Spartan marching band five years later don’t qualify either.
Here are six game-winners that won’t ever be forgotten. You decide where Geiger fits in the mix.
6. Alabama at Auburn, 2013: The Kick Six might not have a definitive celebration moment — there is no signature slide, windmill or leap — but as a whole, it is a surreal scene. It leads the league in stunned looks from Bama players and coaches and includes a dogpile for the ages.
5. Iowa vs. Penn State, 2008: Daniel Murray drills a 31-yard kick to beat the Nittany Lions 24-23 at Kinnick Stadium. The field goal ended No. 3 Penn State’s perfect season and Joe Paterno’s last real shot at a national title, and Murray celebrated with a two-knee slide.
4. Auburn vs. Florida, 2007: Saturday wasn’t the first time Urban Meyer was on the wrong end of a last-second celebration. Auburn kicker Wes Bynum threw out a couple of Gator chomps after hitting a 43-yarder to sink the defending champs on their home turf in dramatic fashion.
3. LSU vs. Kentucky, 2002: This one is more memorable for its “Dewey defeats Truman” qualities. The Wildcats gave head coach Guy Morriss a Gatorade bath before LSU’s Bluegrass Miracle won the game on a tipped deep ball on the last play of the game. Kentucky fans didn’t get the memo and rushed the field to tear down goal posts thinking they had locked up a huge upset.
2. Boston College vs. Miami, 1984: Doug Flutie completed a 48-yard Hail Mary to take down Jimmy Johnson’s 12th-ranked Hurricanes on his fourth touchdown pass of the day. He celebrated by leaping into the arms of one of his offensive linemen, who escorted him downfield with both arms in the air.
1. Boise State vs. Oklahoma, 2007: Bear hugs and windmills are great, but you can’t top a marriage proposal. As if the Broncos’ overtime upset in the Fiesta Bowl wasn’t enough, running back Ian Johnson finished the game on a Statue of Liberty two-point conversion, hurled the ball into the stands, then asked his cheerleader girlfriend to marry him. She said yes.”
College Vault is all about legacies that live on and memorable college sports moments that years later people are still talking about. Is there anything more iconic than college football game-winning celebrations? As the season goes into conference championships and play-off games, we loved this list looking back at some of the best college football walk-off celebrations.