Seminole — breaking down the winning play

Lucas Aulbach

Several big plays vaulted WKU to an overtime win against Kentucky, but it was the winning two-point conversion that stands out as the moment of the game.

But it’s a moment that almost didn’t happen.

“Auburn ran the same play and scored against Louisiana-Monroe early in their game (which took place hours before the WKU-UK game),” coach Willie Taggart said. “I was a little hesitant then because I was like, ‘Geez, they ran it before us — now everyone’s going to see it.”

The call for the trick play, which the team deemed “Seminole,” surprised senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who said the play didn’t even exist until the days leading up to the game.

“We only prepared it in the last few days of practice,” Jakes said. “I really didn’t think we were going to call it, but we just executed when coach did.”

It’s not an easy play to break down.

Down one point after just scoring a touchdown, Jakes lined up directly behind junior center Sean Conway on the left side of the field, with junior running back Antonio Andrews to his right.

He took the snap at the three-yard line and immediately tossed it to Andrews about five yards behind him.

Andrews, a quarterback in high school, had two players, senior tight end Jack Doyle and senior wide receiver Marcus Vasquez, block for him as he held the ball.

He took a step forward and jumped back before throwing a lob back to Jakes, who had been left wide open after he got rid of the ball.

It was a leap of faith by Jakes to let another player throw the winning pass, but the quarterback said he would have been confident in anyone on the team in a moment that big.

“If (senior guard) Adam Smith was throwing it, I’d have confidence in him making it,” Jakes said. “The game was on the line, he had to make something happen and he did.”

It took a lot of luck for the ball to get back to Jakes.

Andrews cleared two Wildcat linemen between him and Jakes, both of which had a good shot to tip or block the throw.

Andrews said he had bigger concerns than the rushing Kentucky defenders.

“I wasn’t worried about them knocking it down, I just didn’t want to overthrow him,” he said.

“I wound up under-throwing him and gave the d-line a chance to tip the ball, but hey, fate was with us, and it got the ball to him.”

Jakes’ catch was just as lucky.

As the ball spiraled to the ground, the quarterback leaned forward and reached down just in time to make the catch.

Blocks by Smith and junior guard Luis Polanco helped Jakes run into the end zone untouched.

Doyle, who was busy blocking for Andrews, said he only saw the end of the play and couldn’t help but get caught up in the moment.

“I could see in my peripherals Antonio throw it back, and then I kind of stopped and looked — I probably should have still been blocking but I was a little excited.”