The improbable finish of the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl in which Central Michigan scored a 75-yard, three-lateral touchdown as time expired has advanced to the Finals for the 2015 ESPY Best Play award.
CMU’s touchdown, the No. 2 seed in the 16-play bracket, received 60 percent of the online vote to defeat No. 7 seed Tyler Ennis of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres in the Round of 8 to move on to the final fan vote.
The top four seeds will square off in voting at ESPYS.com for the Best Play ESPY until the start of The 2015 ESPYS Presented by Capital One from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on July 15 at 8 p.m. ET, broadcast by ABC.
The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl is trying to become the third bowl game in the history of The ESPYS to capture the Best Play award, following the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and 2013 Outback Bowl.
Central Michigan trailed Western Kentucky 49-42 and had the ball with one second to play at the CMU 25-yard line. Chippewas quarterback Cooper Rush scrambled to his right out of a heavy rush and threw 47 yards downfield, where Jesse Kroll caught it at the WKU 28. As Kroll was being wrapped up by tacklers, he flipped the ball up in the air behind him to Deon Butler, who snagged it and picked up 11 yards to the Hilltoppers 17. In the grasp of WKU defenders, Butler shoveled the ball to Courtney Williams, who battled for a pair of yards to the 15. Bottled up, Williams saw a wide-open Titus Davis several yards to his right. Davis caught the final lateral, and he eluded three WKU pursuers on a diagonal dash and dive to the end-zone pylon for the touchdown that brought CMU to within 49-48.
The touchdown known as the “Bahamas Relay” became an immediate hit on both television and social media, and capped a would-be comeback by Central Michigan, that trailed WKU 49-14 entering the final quarter. Despite the touchdown, Central Michigan was unable to complete a two-point conversion pass that would have won the game and been the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in bowl game history.
The 2015 ESPYS Presented by Capital One will be hosted by comedian, actor and television host Joel McHale, most widely known for hosting The Soup on E! as well as playing Jeff Winger on Community.
The award show gathers top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The ESPYS honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYS in 1993. Follow The 2015 ESPYS on Twitter @ESPYS.
For more information on the 2015 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, visit PopeyesBahamasBowl.com.