It was easy to miss.
College football’s opening weekend was everything anybody could hope for.
Like usual, it was full of unexpected outcomes, thrilling matchups, incredible plays and all the hard-hitting action any fan could hope for.
The Texas Longhorns kicked off the Tom Herman era by getting kicked in the teeth by Maryland, and Texas A&M’s monumental collapse against UCLA has already put Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin in the hot seat.
Tennessee and Georgia Tech went to double overtime before the Volunteers emerged with a one-point victory, defending national champion Clemson expectedly crushed Kent State 56-3, and No.1 Alabama beat No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in one of the most highly anticipated season-opening games ever.
But the most memorable moment of Week 1 went completely unnoticed by many.
In an afternoon game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Southern California used a 28-point, fourth-quarter outburst to beat Western Michigan 49-31.
While the game was decided by double digits, a single point made all the difference.
With 3 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the game, Trojans sophomore long snapper Jake Olson made his debut with the team. On the heels of Marvell Tell III’s 37-yard interception return for a touchdown, Olson stepped onto the field, delivered a pinpoint snap to the holder, who set up kicker Chase McGrath for a successful extra point.
It might not sound all that impressive, but Olson is blind.
Cancer robbed him of his sight eight years ago, when he was 12 years old, but the disease could not steal away his moment.
As a child, in 2009, Olson was invited to spend a day with USC’s players and staff, watching practice, riding the team bus and hanging out in the locker room. Years later, his boyhood dream to play for the Trojans came true despite the odds.
It was an inspirational act that should not be overlooked among the weekend’s other highlights. After all, these are the stories that make us love football and sports in general.
At their core, sports are about exceeding expectations, pushing beyond perceived limits, working toward a common goal and sacrificing self for the team.
We love football because we want to see things we’ve never seen. We crave undefeated seasons and anticipate unpredictable plays.
But I guarantee Olson’s simple snap, which was inconsequential in the outcome, will be remembered by far more people and for far longer than Western Michigan’s successful double-pass trick play for a touchdown or Trojans’ running back Ronald Jones II’s 159-yard, three-touchdown outburst.
I know it was easy to miss among all the other hoopla of college football’s opening weekend, but Olson’s snap should go down as the play of the week, because it epitomizes the importance of being dedicated to a dream.
And it didn’t even need lofty rankings, dazzling athleticism, a stunning comeback or an offensive explosion for the ages to do so.