Virginia’s disastrous garbage-time trick play goes viral after ESPN segment

Who calls a double pass in the end zone with a 36-point lead?

Nobody. At least not intentionally.

Virginia led Abilene Christian, 49-13, with 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter and the ball at its own 3-yard line. Maybe the oddest time ever to run a trick play – a double pass that resulted in a safety.

So, how did that happen? Offensive coordinator Robert Anae read the wrong line on his play chart. Seriously. That’s what happened.

“Robert Anae was off a line. He called in the wrong play at the end,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

“We were trying to run out the clock and we end up getting a double pass called out of our own end zone. It’s a complete accident … It shows you what being off one line can do, maybe in your life, but also in a football game, where you can go from running out the clock to a double pass.”

The play is drawing increased attention because Scott Van Pelt highlighted the end of the game on SportsCenter’s “Bad Beats” sports betting segment. Abilene Christian was a 39.5-point underdog.

The safety made it a 34-point deficit, but Abilene Christian didn’t give up, trying to score again on the final possession. Sure enough, with seven seconds remaining and the ball at the 16-yard line, quarterback Peyton Mansell threw an interception returned 84 yards for a touchdown and a 40-point victory. Virginia covered the -39.5 line on the game’s final play – one of the worst beats in recent memory.

The question that begs to be asked: How is the Virginia play sheet organized that a clock-killer like a fullback dive is listed next to the double pass? Needless to say, the offensive personnel on the field for those two calls looks quite different, so it’s no surprise the double pass failed.