USA TODAY Sports
The legend of Jadeveon Clowney grows as his bone-crushing, fumble-causing, helmet-projectiling tackle of Vincent Smith defines the 2013 Outback Bowl.
Think about this for a moment: backup QB Dylan Thompson came on in relief of an injured Connor Shaw and delivered a 32-yard, game-winning touchdown strike to Bruce Ellington with 11 seconds to go, and it is not the play that everyone is talking about today. It is not the play causing my Ohio State fan friend to text me the day after saying that it was the craziest football play he's ever seen. It is not the play that everyone from Stuart Scott to LeBron James has weighed in on via Twitter.
That this is happening is an amazing testament to the nation's love affair with Jadeveon Clowney's superhuman footballing capacity. Despite having something of a quiet day until late in the game, Clowney delievered a season-defining, Heisman campaign-launching play, the likes of which I have never witnessed happening to the benefit of the team I am rooting for:
Within minutes of the play unfolding, the back-breaking hit had been chopped and screwed in every conceivable way by the internet's GIFmakers:
Deadspin helped us gain a finer appreciation of Clowney's feat of strength by slowing the play way the eff down. After the game, SI's Andy Staples wrote an entire column about the play. A day later, Spencer Hall still doesn't fully comprehend the enormity of what we witnessed. The amount of attention being paid to this six second timespan is almost as unbelievable as the play itself.
The final quarter and a half of this game was in a TV scheduling sweet spot where Georgia was pulling away from Nebraska in the only other game that was being played, and you got to see the entire football-watching nation react on Twitter to this unbelievably explosive play.
The bizzarre nature of the botched fourth down call that immediately preceded this play ensured that all eyes were on Clowney, and the sophomore took full advantage of the opportunity to enhance his legend, which began the moment his high school highlights surfaced on the internet several years ago.
Jadeveon Clowney said during his postgame interviews that people were already showing him YouTube replays of the hit by the time he got over to the sidelines, which says more about the fascinating nature of this play than any words possibly could.