Happy Fourth, my friends.
This post continues our series on the top plays of 2011. Today, we're looking at Marcus Lattimore's 30+-yard run late in the fourth quarter against Georgia. Here's the play, at the 3:48 mark.
Marcus Lattimore vs Georgia 2011.avi (via 817BigTex)
Why It's Here: This was probably our biggest, and certainly our most dramatic, win of the season, and this was one of the key plays in the victory. Georgia had just taken a 35-31 lead off Isaiah Crowell's 15-yard run into the end zone. Not to be outdone, Lattimore raised Crowell this run to demonstrate who the top back in the SEC East was. The run has most of the great Lattimore hallmarks: Lattimore runs through a big hole, courtesy of his linemen; demonstrates his vision when he makes a cut to the left side of the field; breaks an arm tackle (how many times have we seen that against UGA?); and then turns on the jets as he runs towards the sidelines, almost making it to the end zone. Notice that Alshon Jeffery makes a nice block to take out a would-be tackler, too, helping Lattimore go for another ten yards or so. Lattimore would follow this play up with a short TD run. It was an impressive drive for Lattimore, and we wouldn't have won this game without his stellar play here.
Why It's Not Higher: At this point, we're getting to plays that could easily be higher, depending on your tastes. Each of the plays you'll see from here on out were plays that were both impressive from a skills / tactical standpoint and that had a big impact on the game. HUGE plays.
It's gonna be HUUUUUUUUGE! (via julzfin)
This one certainly qualifies, but there are some others that qualify, too. This is all to say that it's hard to rank the top few plays in a single season. If I had to say, though, I would argue that this play is a little less remarkable than some of the others because it's a bit more routine. Maybe that's just because I'm used to seeing Lattimore take over late in games. But I think most of us can agree that this play lacked the "oomph" factor that some of the other plays we'll discuss have. Think about it this way: When you think back to last season, what's the first play you remember? This one? Probably not. But it's still a great play, which is why it's here.