Aaron Rodgers made the throw and Geronimo Allison made the catch-and-run that set up the Packers' game-winning field goal in Week 3, but it was a motivated high school teacher six years earlier that set everything up.
After making the varsity football team at Spoto High School in Riverview, Fla., as a freshman in 2008, Allison finished the academic year with a 1.4 GPA, well below the minimum of 2.0 required to play. He was ruled ineligible for the 2009 season, and again in 2010.
"I wasn't a big school guy; I didn't take it seriously," he said.
That changed during the summer before his senior year when he and his mother were walking out of school after being informed he'd be sidelined for a third-straight season. They ran into Anne Caparaso, a teacher in the Hillsborough County school district and the wife of Spoto head coach Dale Caparaso. After hearing Allison still had a sub-2.0 GPA and was ineligible, she asked if he would join her tutoring program.
“I said, ‘Let’s take care of this,’” Caparaso said. “His mom is a great lady, and she jumped on it and Geronimo jumped on it. He did the work."
He played as senior, registering 26 receptions for 567 yards and four touchdowns, and earned an opportunity at Iowa Western Community College and, two years later, Illinois, where he had 106 receptions and 1,480 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons. That production landed him an opportunity with the Packers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent a week after the 2016 NFL Draft.
Allison appeared in 10 games as a rookie (two starts) and had 12 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. After receiving a one-game suspension in July for violating the league's substance abuse policy, his football career appeared to be in jeopardy once again. In addition to the return of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, along with special teams receiver Jeff Janis, the Packers drafted two receivers in April (DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre), signed multiple undrafted receivers and had former practice squad receivers in camp.
Despite the suspension, Allison remained on the roster and now has nine receptions for 146 yards in two games. Seventy-two of those yards came on the Packers' first overtime possession against the Bengals on Sunday when his catch-and-run set up Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal.
Anne Caparaso wasn't involved in the play and her name isn't in the box score but without her that play doesn't happen, at least not as a Rodgers-to-Allison connection.
HERO Sports is dedicated to college football, with an emphasis on FCS coverage. We are proud to be the go-to site for comprehensive FCS analysis for fans across the country. HERO Sports also publishes betting odds and insights for FBS games.