ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — “Did you see that?”
It was a phrase repeated many times Saturday at O’Shaughnessy Stadium in St. Paul.
St. Thomas had just taken a 6-3 lead over Carleton in an MIAC football game. What happened on the point-after-touchdown try had people shaking their heads.
Following the first-quarter touchdown run by Jordan Roberts, kicker Paul Graupner ran onto the field for what appeared to be a PAT attempt. Instead, Graupner rolled out to his right after the snap went to holder Charlie Dowdle. After faking a pitch-out to Graupner, Dowdle flung the ball no-look style behind his back, high in the air, toward the end zone, where tight end Matt Christianson made the two-handed catch among a group of Carleton defenders.
The crowd at O’Shaughnessy Stadium went wild. In the WCCO Radio broadcast both, play-by-play announcer Dave Lee was beside himself.
“That’s going to be a highlight that we’ll see for a long time,” Lee said. “Never seen that one before. I’ve been to a lot of practices, and I’ve never seen that one.”
Not many had.
Tommie coach Glenn Caruso told WCCO’s Eric Nelson that he not only devised it, he knew it was coming at that moment.
“Of course, I’m the head coach,” Caruso said. “We practiced it all week. That was probably as cool a play as I think we’ve seen.”
St. Thomas has run plenty of trick plays on place-kicking attempts, when many teams get over-aggressive, according to Caruso. That includes a wide-open spread formation, passes by the kicker, inside handoffs to tight ends.
Nothing like that was seen on Saturday.
“Talk about a wild and bizarre play,” Nelson said. “Ricky Rubio would be proud of that pass.”
St. Thomas hasn’t needed many trick plays this season. They’ve won all nine of their games, and the smallest margin of victory has been 21 points, on their way to a top-five ranking in the polls.
The 80-3 win over Carleton assured UST of the MIAC championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
The Tommies end the regular season on Saturday at Gustavus, with the playoffs starting the following week.
UST sports information director Gene McGivern sent a video of the play to ESPN. It made number two in the global sports network’s “Play of the Day” segment and was also their “Trick Play of the Day.”