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Washington Reels in “Catch of Year” vs. Nebraska

September 23, 2017
Washington Rutgers

The Catch

This afternoon the Rutgers University football team fell to Nebraska, 27-17, in Lincoln. Though the Scarlet Knights dropped to 1-3 on the season, starting tight end Jerome Washington ’12 reeled in what may end up on many catch of the year lists. This evening it was the #1 play on SportsCenter, the renowned flagship show of ESPN. It was also named the Catch of the Week by the Big Ten Network.

Here is how Ryan Dunleavy of described the play:

Rutgers has a new nominee for SportsCenter’s Top 10 and Big Ten Catch of the Year.

Facing a third-and-9 on the opening drive of the game against Nebraska, Rutgers quarterback Kyle Bolin fired a pass into a tight window to tight end Jerome Washington.

As linebacker Dedrick Young went flying by to try to break up the pass, Washington had the ball slip through his hands but he completed a ridiculous catch by trapping the ball between his ankles and rolling over with the ball pinned to his rear end after a somersault.

You’ve heard of Mark Sanchez’s butt fumble with the Jets. This was the butt catch.

The pass originally was ruled incomplete and Rutgers sent its punt team onto the field for fourth down. But the call was overturned after replay review and Rutgers continued its drive.

Rutgers converted another third-and-long later in the drive with Bolin to Hunter Hayek, who started in place of Grant at wide receiver. Nebraska’s leading tackler, Aaron Williams, was ejected for a targeting penalty on his tackle.

Running back Gus Edwards finished the drive with a 2-yard rushing touchdown to give Rutgers a 7-0 lead.


Rutgers tight end Jerome Washington entered himself into the discussion for catch of the year Saturday afternoon, using mainly his ankles and rear end.


When you think about the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the scope of college football, the program’s recent run of futility is likely what comes to mind. They have been plainly abysmal in recent years, but have hopes of turning things around with Chris Ash at the helm. Having said that, they entered their Week 4 matchup with the Nebraska Cornhuskers sporting a 1-2 record.

As such, Rutgers came into the game looking to get a nice win to start building momentum. Sure, the Huskers came into the game with the same record, but beating Nebraska in any capacity would still be a big win for the Scarlet Knights. To do so, though, the visiting team would need some spectacular plays and guys to step up.

Early in the first quarter, tight end Jerome Washington made sure to do exactly that.

With the game in its infancy and still tied at 0-0, Rutgers quarterback Kyle Bolin looked into the flats for his tight end. He hit Washington with a fine pass, but the tight end seemed to misjudge it as it went off his hands. However, he didn’t give up on the play. Incredibly, Washington caught the ball on its way to the ground between his feet (with the assist of his ankles), and fell to the ground deftly to maintain control for the 11-yard grab.

That’s next level concentration and catching from the tight end. Simply unbelievable.

Washington’s catch helped keep the Rutgers drive alive and ultimately led to a touchdown, giving the Scarlet Knights an early lead. Sometimes fate is just on your side, and a catch like that is pretty evident of that being the case.


Rutgers is playing this game a day after the NCAA announced it found its previous coaching staff guilty of a handful of NCAA violations. Nebraska is playing two days after firing athletic director Shawn Eichorst, which begs the question of whether coach Mike Riley is next. This game needed some levity, and it got some.

From the Big Ten Network:

This was a stunner, something you may not see the rest of the year, or maybe for years. Washington secured the ball between his legs and then reaching behind his knees with both hands to secure the ball as he hit the turf. How did he do that?

Washington finished with a team-leading 3 catches for 27 yards. Despite the loss all anyone could talk about during and after the game was Washington’s sensational snare. Here were some of the immediate reactions on Twitter:

Washington and the Scarlet Knights return to action next Saturday when they welcome the #10 Ohio State Buckeyes to town.



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