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Thursday’s Marshall – Appalachian State game gifted us the type of trick play that some special teams coaches across the country can only dream of. It wasn’t quite Johnny Moxon, Charlie Tweeder and Billy Bob combining for a game-winning hook and ladder, but it was still impressive. The Thundering Herd did their damage on a second-quarter kick return, leaving App State defenders and the cameraman alike trying to locate the ball carrier.
You won't see many kick returns better than this 97-yard one by Marshall!
— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) September 24, 2021
Trailing 14-13 with seven minutes remaining before the half, Marshall’s Rasheen Ali fielded the kick cleanly and darted up the right sideline. An unidentified Marshall teammate ran towards Ali and acted as though he had taken a handoff of the ball, then the teammate raced down the left side of the field, bringing a gang of would-be Mountaineer tacklers with him. Meanwhile, Ali still had the rock and a clear path towards the end zone.
Ali’s fake handoff and his teammate’s sprint towards the open side of the field were so believable that even ESPN’s camera bought in. Thinking they had sniffed out a reverse, a camera stayed on the decoy, as Ali raced 97-yards for a touchdown.
Marshall’s trick play was smooth enough to give The Herd the lead, though they couldn’t keep it. In the back and forth game, App State clawed their back from a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to move in front, eventually besting The Herd 31-30.
“It was a 15-round heavyweight fight,” said Appalachian State coach Shawn Clarke “We were the last team standing.”