Every weekend this fall, we were treated to college football games that provided countless memorable moments. As bowl season gets underway, here are three of STACK's favorite 2011 college football plays, plus an explanation of the skills behind the plays.
#3: Aaron Dobson One-Handed Grab for a TD
The Play: Near the end of the first half of a game between Marshall and East Carolina, the Thundering Herd's Aaron Dobson made an incredible one-handed catch against a defender to tie the score at 17-17. The catch provided the momentum the Herd needed to power forward to a 34-27 win.
Why It Happened: Dobson got off the line quickly, and he was able to reach around and make the catch despite the fact that the ball was underthrown. In this play, Dobson displayed both the quick hands and fast feet any wide receiver needs to make spectacular catches. You can develop quicker hands and feet through the Ping-Pong Hop drill.
#2: Joe Adams Punt Return Against Tennessee
The Play: Joe Adams of Arkansas fielded a punt against Tennessee and returned it for a touchdown. Although it was officially a 60-yard return, ESPN Axis showed that Adams ran closer to 100 yards total, dancing around before turning upfield for the score.
Why It Happened: Several factors came together to make this improbable return possible. For starters, no Tennessee defender seemed particularly intent on making an actual tackle, although many attempted arm tackles. Adams also got some key blocks from his teammates. Finally, Adams used his quickness and agility to make no fewer than seven defenders miss. No coach would advise his punt returner to run 10 yards backward like Adams did here, but there's no reason you can't make a few defenders miss if you develop your agility. Work through some of the agility drills used at Elite Athletics to improve your chances of breaking off a long run.
#1: Elvis Akpla Makes Greatest Catch Ever
The Play: In what we believe was the most spectacular catch of the year, Montana State wide receiver Elvis Akpla pulled in the ball off the back of a Sam Houston State defender during an FCS playoff game.
Why It Happened: Not only did Akpla time his jump perfectly, he maintained focus to catch the ball against his defender's back, pin it against his own helmet and land awkwardly on his arm while holding the ball off the turf. Even some NFL receivers drop or bobble catchable balls due to lack of focus. It's amazing to watch Akpla focus on keeping the ball in his hands and off the ground all the way through the play. Catch more balls by improving focus through the Bull's Eye Target drill.
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