You remember how the Florida-Georgia game started last year, right?
Georgia’s Zamir White ran for 75 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and it was suddenly 7-0. Florida went three-and-out on the next possession, gave up a six-play, 61-yard touchdown drive over the next 2:14, and trailed 14-0 before four minutes were gone.
But that lead wasn’t safe — not even close. Florida would score the next 14 points, and 38 of the 45 that were to come before halftime. And when the game ended, the Gators had essentially flipped that two-touchdown deficit into their own two-touchdown final margin of victory at 44-28, albeit one with two two-point conversions tacked on.
That game, maybe more than most, should persuade you of the magic that flows from a two-touchdown lead in college football.
Most of them are 14-point leads, making almost all of them just one play away from being cut in half. And those massive swings in perceived momentum — which doesn’t exist, but which I’ll use here for lack of a better word that means similar — make games that were also one play from behind three-touchdown games much closer.
But those lightning-strike scores to go up three touchdowns, the ones that push solid wins into blowout territory and play-by-play data into the “garbage time” bin? Those are great, too. They make for fitting closes to previously close games, for punctuation on stories.
And we tend to love those events, whichever way they go: The score to cut a deficit in half renews hope; the one to finish off a hated foe inspires relief.
None would be possible without a two-touchdown lead before it.
Believe in the power of the turning point.