In college football, achieving an undefeated record and convincing those in charge of the College Football Playoffs that your team belongs in the big dance is critical. There is no room for error and losing even one game could potentially spell doom for playoff hopefuls. This mindset often pushes players to extraordinary efforts on the field, which is exactly what happened on Saturday afternoon.
Late in the tightly-contested game against Kansas State, Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader was facing a fourth-and-16. There was no punting considering that his team was down by a touchdown. He took off running for the first-down marker but saw defenders in his way.
Needing a conversion, Shrader tried to leap over two Kansas State players, but was hit and launched even further into the air. In the words of NASA and comedian Christopher Titus, "we have lift-off."
GARRETT SHRADER...LIFT OFF✈️
He comes up just short on 4th and long, but what an effort!pic.twitter.com/p7Aal2OAVm— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) September 14, 2019
Unfortunately for Shrader, his heroic efforts and impressive hang time were all in vain. He landed a yard shy of the first down, giving Kansas State possession once again. Mississippi State ultimately lost the game by the score of 31-24, dropping them to 2-1 on the season and moving Kansas State to 3-0.
Fortunately, the youngster was not injured during this play. He came into the game after replacing the benched Tommy Stevens and provided a spark to this offense. There is a possibility that Shrader could be the starter for the season's remainder.
At this point in time, Shrader's future as the starter is unknown, but his place in history is cemented. His helicopter leap will go down as one of the best among quarterbacks, whether in the NFL or college football.
Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway has the most memorable helicopter due to it taking place in Super Bowl XXXII, but he is not the only quarterback to create headlines with this move. He was just the most successful.
Former Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings backup Sage Rosenfels once failed in his own attempt during a 2008 battle with the Indianapolis Colts. With a 27-17 lead late in the fourth quarter, Rosenfels rolled out on third-and-eight looking for a key conversion to keep the drive alive. Without any receivers open, he took off running for the first-down marker and opted to leap into the air instead of sliding and setting up a field goal.0comments
Unfortunately for Rosenfels, he was hit by three separate Colts defenders, resulting in a fumble. Gary Brackett picked up the ball and raced 68 yards for a touchdown, sparking a comeback that would result in a 31-27 victory over the AFC South rival.
In the impressive history of helicopter dives, Shrader's attempt was better than Rosenfels' but fell short of Elway's. If he had converted on fourth down and led Mississippi State to victory, the true freshman could have taken the top spot from the Broncos QB.