Auburn stunner brings up tale of Elon back in '60

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm •  Published: December 2, 2013
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Auburn's Chris Davis taking a missed Alabama field-goal try back for the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the Iron Bowl was the talk of college football and may be the play of the year.

A game-winner in a showdown with national title implications? Surely a first. But not the first game-winner of its kind.

A tweet from Elon University on Monday helped unearth the exploits of George Wooten, who won a game on a missed field-goal return 53 years ago.

Back then, the Elon Phoenix were the Elon Fightin' Christians and they were playing the Catawba Indians on Oct. 22, 1960. Up 12-7 with 15 seconds left, Catawba coach Press Mull went for a game-clinching field goal from the Elon 17. Ronnie Evans kicked it wide, and Wooten — a quarterback stationed in the end zone, just like Davis was Saturday in Auburn — went roughly 108 yards to give Elon a stunning 13-12 win.

The game, alas, received "scant national attention," according to an Associated Press article chronicling the oddities of the 1960 season, and soon passed into history.

At the Division I level, such a wild play has only happened a handful of times: LSU's Odell Beckham did it vs. UAB earlier this season, Houston's Tyron Carrier did in 2010 against Southern Miss (the kick was partially blocked), Cal's Don Guest did it against Washington State in 1966 and Clemson's Richie Luzzi did it against Georgia in 1968.

All of those came after Wooten's feat for Elon.

Here are five more things that stood out in an unforgettable weekend of college football:

GAMBLING MAN: Michigan coach Brady Hoke was lauded by some for having the guts to go for a 2-point conversion down 42-41 to Ohio State with 32 seconds left. The numbers suggest that Michigan's odds of winning were essentially the same had the Wolverines instead kicked the point after with the hopes of winning in overtime. According to STATS, teams going for a 2-point conversion when down by one late in games were successful 13 of 24 times since 1996. The Wolverines made it 13 of 25 (52 percent) because Devin Gardner's pass was picked off. That's just 2 percent higher than Michigan's theoretical odds had it chosen to play for OT with a point-after try (50-50 it's good or missed), which is designed to give each team an equal shot at victory.

SHOOTOUT!: David Fales and Derek Carr put on perhaps the best shootout of the season. Fales, the San Jose State star, threw for 547 yards and six touchdowns on just 45 attempts as the Spartans knocked off previously-unbeaten Fresno State 62-52 in Mountain West play. Carr nearly matched his counterpart with 519 and six TDs, but he also threw the game's only interception in the fourth quarter.



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