15 Most Amazing Runs, Hits and Catches in College Football 2012
A look back at the season's best
By: Rich McVey | 12/14/12, 5:50 AM EST
RUN: Taylor Martinez's Mad Dash1 of 18
Although Nebraska had a horrible showing in the Big Ten Championship, quarterback Taylor Martinez had one of the most ridiculously awesome touchdown dashes in recent memory.
Wisconsin was able to bring a rusher that was virtually untouched by Nebraska's offensive line, which forced Martinez to retreat back to the eight-yard line. From there, it was a series of moves and then nothing but pure speed to give Martinez the 76-yard touchdown run.
RUN: Andre Parker Goes the Wrong Way2 of 18
Kent State linebacker Andre Parker made the news for all of the wrong reasons this season. In a game Kent State had clear control of, Parker picked up a muffed punt in the first half and returned it the wrong way. It was the first week of the season, so mistakes happen. However, it's hard to understand why Parker never realized he was headed the wrong way.
The ball was technically dead after Parker touched it, but the referees did not blow the whistle, which allowed one of the strangest plays of the season. An underrated part of the video is Parker appears to get up after the run and talk trash to the Towson defenders. Needless to say, this is a play Parker would probably like to forget.
HIT: Nebraska WR Destroys Defender3 of 18
Nebraska didn't have many highlights from their loss to Wisconsin, but there were a few noteable plays for the Cornhuskers.
In addition to Taylor Martinez's ridiculous touchdown run, receiver Kenny Bell destroyed Wisconsin defensive back Devin Smith on a third-quarter pass, which was called back due to a penalty. However, the block on Smith might be one of the most vicious hits in college football this season.
CATCH: A Bouncing Interception for VT4 of 18
Bad officiating was a problem in the ACC this year, and it appears the refs missed another call in Week 12.
Virginia Tech defensive back Kyle Fuller deflected a poorly thrown pass by Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig and appeared to bounce it off his hands just before it hit the ground. Linebacker Alonzo Tweedy caught the deflection for the interception.
However, the refs did not give the interception to Virginia Tech, which took away a prime opportunity around midfield for its offense.
RUN: Dri Archer Escapes BGSU's D5 of 18
Kent State running back Dri Archer was one of the nation's top all-purpose players this season. Archer has showcased his speed and ridiculous moves all season but might have had his best performance against Bowling Green.
With the game tied at 17 early in the fourth quarter, Archer took a handoff and darted to the left side and appeared to be tackled around midfield. However, Archer bounced out of the pile and cut it back to the opposite side of the field. After the midfield escape, Archer dodged a few defenders and scored to give Kent State a 24-17 lead.
RUN: TCU Receiver Hurdles Defender6 of 18
TCU came up short in its upset bid against Kansas State, but the Horned Frogs didn't go away without a fight.
Receiver Brandon Carter attempted to give his team some momentum at the end of the first half, taking a kickoff from the goal-line to around the 40-yard line.
While the return was solid, the biggest highlight has to be Carter's ridiculous hurdle over kicker Anthony Cantele just before he was shoved out of bounds.
RUN: Le'Veon Bell Hurdles Indiana Player7 of 18
Michigan State had to work a little harder than expected to beat Indiana. The Spartans needed a huge second half comeback to knock off the Hoosiers, which included a big game from running back Le'Veon Bell.
Bell provided one of the game's best highlights, hurdling an Indiana defender in the fourth quarter to move Michigan State a little closer to the goal line.
The junior was one of the Big Ten's top performers this season and has provided plenty of highlight moments by jumping over players against Indiana, Boise State and Notre Dame.
HIT: Aaron Murray Gets Rocked8 of 18
The SEC Championship matchup between Alabama and Georgia might have been the best played game in 2012. The Bulldogs had a chance to win late, but the Crimson Tide defense held on the final drive to clinch a spot in the national title.
And considering this game matched two of the best defenses in the nation, it was no surprise there were plenty of hard hits. At the end of the first half, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray tossed an interception and was leveled by Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial. Considering how important protecting the quarterback is, it's a surprise there wasn't a penalty called on Alabama.
HIT: Illinois' Coach Gets Clobbered9 of 18
2012 was an awful season for Illinois. New coach Tim Beckman had a disastrous debut, with the Fighting Illini failing to win a Big Ten game in 2012.
And the bad year only got worse as Beckman was clobbered by an official during the first half. Beckman apparently didn't see the official coming his way and was knocked down just as the play was coming in his direction. Beckman quickly scooted out of the way but it was another bad moment for his first season at Illinois.
CATCH: J.D. Woods' One-Hander10 of 18
The 70-63 shootout between West Virginia and Baylor was one of college football's most exciting games from Week 5. Although there were plenty of highlights during the game, Woods' one-handed grab in the fourth quarter might be the best play from the matchup.
RUN: Daren Bates' Stiff Arm11 of 18
Auburn didn't have much to cheer about this season. Their victory over New Mexico State was one of the few highlights from this year, as Auburn claimed a 42-7 victory. The Tigers' defense had a few big plays, including linebacker Daren Bates' 62-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The runback was impressive but check out the stiff arm Bates puts on New Mexico State's defender around the 20-yard line.
CATCH: Kenny Stills' Crazy Grab12 of 18
The annual matchup between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State is simply titled Bedlam. It's a rivalry that always produces plenty of highlight-reel plays and crazy moments each year.
This season, Oklahoma rallied from an early deficit to score an overtime win, largely due to the performance of quarterback Landry Jones. The senior was steady in the second half to give his team a chance to win, which included a ridiculous touchdown toss to receiver Kenny Stills. With a blitz coming in his face, Jones fired a pass to Stills, but an Oklahoma State defender nearly pulled off the interception. However, Stills tipped it back to himself and gained control of the pass just before hitting the out of bounds mark.
CATCH: Jarvis Landry's One-Handed Snag13 of 18
The highlight of LSU's victory over Arkansas wasn't a late defensive stand, but instead came from receiver Jarvis Landry in the first half.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw a pass just behind Landry, but the sophomore made a good adjustment on the ball and reeled in the ridiculous one-handed grab.
CATCH: Stefon Diggs Pulls It In14 of 18
Lost in the struggles of Maryland's offense and quarterback injuries this season was the play of receiver Stefon Diggs. The true freshman was a dynamic playmaker and could be a first-team All-ACC selection by the end of 2013.
Diggs showcased his talent with a ridiculous one-handed catch against Florida State. He knew a big hit was coming from the Florida State defender, yet hung on for the reception.
HIT: Alabama's Cheap Shot15 of 18
In what looks to be an awesome wrestling move, Alabama player LaMichael Fanning picks up the Missouri running back and slams him down hard on the ground. The bone-jarring tackle was a cheap shot, considering it was late in the game and both teams were running out the clock.
RUN: Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas 75-yard return16 of 18
BONUS VIDEO: During the Oregon's blowout of Colorado this year, Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas had one of the season's most amazing punt returns. Watch as the quick-footed Thomas makes the Colorado players look like the Keystone Cops.
RUN: Cal’s Brendan Bigelow’s TD17 of 18
BONUS VIDEO: When Cal met up with Ohio State this season, Brendan Bigelow showed that defenders shouldn't assume he's going down. Watch as Bigelow breaks tackles and nearly goes down on his way to an 81-yard sprint to the endzone.
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