Thursday night marked the opening of FBS college football action in the 2020 season, and the first game between FBS teams featured potentially one of the better touchdowns that we’ll see all weekend.
Only one problem: the score didn’t count.
Southern Miss entered Thursday’s opener as a two-score home favorite against South Alabama, but the Golden Eagles found themselves in a 13-0 hole to the visitors in the first quarter. After starting with two three-and-outs and an ineffective six-play drive in between, Southern Miss finally got the offense rolling in the second quarter when a 47-yard pass from Jack Abraham set up a short touchdown run for Don Ragsdale.
The Golden Eagles got the ball back after a South Alabama missed field goal and put together basically the perfect late second quarter drive. Frank Gore Jr., son of the NFL and former Miami great, was the primary ball carrier as Southern Miss used a heavy dose of the run game to move the ball down the field and milk the clock to set up a potential go-ahead touchdown.
With 49 remaining and the ball at the six-yard line, Abraham handed it off to Gore Jr. and the running back was met by three South Alabama defenders at the line of scrimmage. Gore powered forward for about a yard, and then before he was brought to the ground tossed a lateral back to Abraham, who ran it in for what appeared to be a touchdown.
The play was awesome, but the officials ruled that Gore had been stopped by his forward progress. Officially he was credited with a one-yard run, but we all know that the effort is more deserving of such a mundane line in the play-by-play.
The Golden Eagles ended up with a short field goal on the drive — pushed back by an ensuing substitution infraction — to cut the South Alabama lead to 13-10. Given the success of the drive otherwise and the would-be touchdown, the result was a disappointment. Still, we got the highlight of Frank Gore Jr.’s extra effort and the opportunity to joke about how Frank Gore might be able to extend his career long enough to play in the NFL with his son.