A look inside the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare" - WRBL

A look inside the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare"

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AUBURN, Ala. -

It will go down in history as the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare."

But for Gus Malzahn, it has a much simpler name:

Little Rock.

Malzahn went on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday morning, and explained the origin of the play that resulted in Ricardo Louis's amazing, game-winning catch. He installed the play in 1998 while the head coach at Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale, Ark. He said the play was going to help the Saints get to the state championship game, which is held in… Little Rock.

As for the play itself, it's fairly simple.

"It's a very standard play that a lot of people run different ways, where you have a deep post with a dig across the middle," said Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, who ran the play himself under Malzahn as the Saints quarterback in the late 90's. "[You have] guys underneath holding linebackers, and we ran that play when I was a sophomore in high school. Hit the post a lot, hit the dig a lot, just never quite like that."

As for the Auburn version, Louis makes it even more interesting. He normally is not on the field in that formation.

"It was a set that I'm not usually in," Louis said after Saturday's game. "[Malzahn] said ,'Let's put Ricardo at five and Sammie on the boundary,' and before we went out there, I looked at Nick [Marshall] and said, ‘Nick, throw me the ball.'"

The quarterback's progression on the play goes from the deep ball first, down to the dig route, then to checkdowns.

"We had a big one over the top in case they blitzed and went zero," Malzahn said Saturday, referring to Louis's route. "We had a dig right at the sticks, then we had that checkdown just to try to draw the guys, but we were thinking big one to the dig with Sammie [Coates]. I just heard in the huddle that Ricardo said, ‘Give me a chance, I'll make a play,' and I was looking at the dig and he threw it up. It got tipped around and it went in our hands. That was an unbelievable play."

On film, Coates is wide open near the 50-yard line, which would have been a first down. On Wednesday, Lashlee was asked if Marshall should have gone to him.

"You know, his read is post to dig," he said, then smiled. "The rest is history."

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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