The fake punt is one of the most exciting plays in football. And when pulled off successfully, it can be a game-changer.
Former Mountaineer Gary Jennings was on the receiving end of one such play Saturday, and it was an absolute game-changer.
Lined up in a punt formation with just over five minutes remaining, Jennings’ St. Louis Battlehawks were down by nine, and near their own 30-yard line.
Watch: Gary Jennings scores 64-yard touchdown on a fake punt (Twitter)
Jennings, positioned as one of the gunners on the right side of the formation, took off as he normally would at the snap of the ball. But then, he stopped. And the game-changing play began.
Jennings turned around on the St. Louis 40-yard line, caught a pass from his punter, and took off. After quickly crossing midfield, the former Mountaineer turned into the near side of the field to avoid a would-be tackler. Jennings evaded the player in pursuit just long enough to get the angle, ran up the sideline near the 15, and was pushed into the end zone for a touchdown.
The 64-yard touchdown off the fake punt brought St. Louis back to within three points. Jennings’ crew ultimately won the game in overtime, an outcome that would not have been possible without the former Mountaineers’ highlight play.
So far this XFL season, Jennings has caught four passes for 84 yards and three touchdowns.