Four years ago today we got to watch one of the most unlikely starting quarterbacks in the history of college football. Facing a quarterback crisis and shortage of the kind we have rarely seen before or since, Maryland was forced to start freshman linebacker Shawn Petty at quarterback in an ACC game against Georgia Tech.
Petty was thrust into the role of signal caller because the Terrapins had no fewer than four quarterbacks out with season-ending injuries at the back end of the 2012 season. This was no Hollywood story, though. Maryland got thumped in the game by a Yellow Jackets squad that clearly didn't care much for the romantic side of the game. However, the final play of the contest will go down in FBS history as the most beautiful linebacker to wide receiver fade pass in the history of the sport.
The game started off as you would expect as Petty was sacked on his very first dropback. As the contest went on (and as Georgia Tech put up the points) Petty did seem to grow into his new role. This all culminated with the play you see here on the video as Petty finds All-ACC wideout Stefon Diggs (now of the Minnesota Vikings) on a touchdown pass that had zero impact on the game, but that will feature on highlight reels in the Petty household for the rest of time.
On the play, with Maryland down 33-7 and time almost up, Petty drops back to pass, somehow avoids a sack (probably because he has the power of a linebacker) as the clock ticks to zero, and wings a left-handed pass all the way across the field that appears to be way too high for anyone. At the last moment Diggs appears on the screen, soaring above the cornerback to make a spectacular grab that he had no right to pull in.
Maryland may have lost the game, but this play is the only one anybody remembers from the contest.
Pretty started the last four games of the season as the Maryland quarterback and went 0-4. He eventually transferred to Marshall and finished his career with the Thundering Herd.