This post continues our series counting down memorable plays from last season. Today, we're looking at Jimmy Legree's goal-line interception of Austyn Carta-Samuels.
On this play, Legree is lined up across from Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Cunningham. Samuels is targeting Cunningham on a slant route. The veteran Legree does a good job of misdirecting the true freshman Cunningham, who is thrown way off balance and off his route. Recognizing that Cunningham is running a slant route, Legree jumps into the passing lane as Samuels releases the pass. After picking off the pass, Legree ends the great play with a mistake when he attempts to run the ball out of the end zone and is tackled just past the goal line.
By keeping Vandy from making this a one-score game with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter, Legree's INT ended a furious Vandy comeback in a game that looked like it would be a blowout in the first half. While not exactly a game-saving play in that we don't know what would have happened had Vandy scored on this drive, a Vandy score would have given the 'Dores tons of momentum with plenty of time to tie the game or take the lead. Legree halted Vandy's momentum and prompted Carolina to coast to a ten-point win.
This was likely the career highlight play for a senior who had a very solid career at Carolina, particularly when you consider that he came in as an unheralded two-star recruit. Legree shows a lot of veteran instinct on the play by recognizing the play call and making a calculated gamble in jumping the route. It was a play that showcased the skills Legree developed over the course of his career. Given the inexperience we'll have at the position in 2014, even if we've got some incoming corners who will have great careers, I suspect that this year we're going to miss what Legree brought to the table.