Post by WesternFan on Apr 21, 2020 17:08:25 GMT -5
The year was 1983, the Cats were 0-2 on the season. Game three, in Cullowhee against East Tennessee State University, seemed destined to seal a forgettable season for the Catamounts. The stands were beginning to empty late in the fourth quarter with the Cats trailing 16-6.
With 4:31 left in the game, Western took possession at its own 9-yard line. Eight plays and 91 yards later, a scoring drive ended with one of the most memorable plays in WCU history.
With the clock winding under three minutes, reserve quarterback Willie Perkins fired a pass toward receiver Eric Rasheed in the corner of the end zone. East Tennessee State cornerback Harvey Zachary headed to intercept the ball.
He could’ve had it, maybe should’ve. Instead it went high off his hands and then off his knee and to Rasheed, who grabbed the ball off the top of his shoes.
Even with the score and subsequent two-point conversion, WCU trailed 16-14 with 2:35 left and had only a slim chance for a win.
They had to recover an onside kick.
So they did.
And then they had to score again.
So they did, courtesy a 21-yard field goal from Dean Biasucci with nine ticks left on the clock.
Asheville Citizen-Times Sport Editor Doug Mead called Rasheed’s reception “perhaps the most unbelievable play in Western Carolina history.” It soon came to be known as Immaculate Reception II, harkening back to Franco Harris’ reception on Dec. 23, 1972, that evidently ricocheted off an Oakland Raider defender and was falling harmlessly to the ground when Harris scooped it up and headed for the game-winning TD.
WCU Coach Bob Waters told Mead, “This could be a turnaround for this team.”
Was it ever.
The ’83 squad didn’t lose another game until falling in the Division I-AA National Championship game and became the most decorated squad in school history, producing 11 All-Southern Conference first team players that year, along with two All-American honorees. Five other team members would go on to earn All-American honors before ending their careers, and several went on to become Sunday football fixtures in the NFL.
Last Edit: Apr 21, 2020 17:08:56 GMT -5 by WesternFan
Post by realoldcatamount on Apr 21, 2020 20:37:35 GMT -5
I thought I was the only one who remembered the last four minutes of that game. It took me an hour after the game to compose a game story for the AP as I had to keep rewriting the details. Another strange thing that happened came after we scored to make it a 16-14 game was ETSU's coach (Buddy Sasser) not expecting the on-side kick. He had his regular guys on the receiving team...not a HANDS team...and Tiger Greene got to the ball untouched. Also, I'll bet you there were not 2,000 fans still in the stands to see the incredible finish as 6,000 or more had departed by the middle of the fourth quarter. That had to be one of the most incredible comebacks in college football history. Our 1964 win over Elon (21-20) was almost as crazy...coming from down 20-0 in the last eight minutes...but did not have all the crazy plays of the '83 game. Had we lost that game, there would not have been a I-AA playoff bid.