After counting down the top 45 plays, there aren't likely to be a lot of surprises in the final five. For the most part, the plays are obvious, it's just a matter of the order. The voting for the final five was tight with not much separating No. 5 from No. 1. Without further ado, here are the top five plays from the 2013 season.
No. 5 - Teondray Caldwell with the catch of the year
There were a lot of great catches last season, but this grab from Caldwell outranked them all. It starts with a perfect back-shoulder throw from Connor Halliday. The defender is running right with Caldwell and has his eyes on Halliday, yet he wasn't even able to get a hand up, the throw was that good. Caldwell made a great adjustment to the ball and managed to snag it while tiptoeing on the sideline. He even regripped the ball while his feet were down to ensure he held the catch to the ground. Not bad for a running back who may move to safety. The play occurred on WSU's game-winning drive against Arizona. It was a 2nd and 8 with less than four minutes to play. Connor Halliday hit Isiah Myers for the go-ahead touchdown three plays later.
No. 4 - Marcus Mason weaves his way through Cal for a touchdown
This play didn't look like much at the start. Cal got pressure up the middle, forcing Halliday to dump off a pass to Mason in the flat. Mason appeared on his way to a solid pickup of six or seven yards. A couple of sidesteps later and he was into the open field. Ten of the 11 Cal defenders come within a few yards of Mason. The only one who didn't was the corner on the opposite side of the field who got stonewalled by Vince Mayle. Great vision by Mason to make all the rights cuts and have just enough speed to finish it off. The play started with less than 1:30 to play in the half and there is no guarantee WSU comes away with any points if Mason doesn't break this. Have to love the effort by Gunnar Eklund too, busting it full speed down the field trying to catch another block.
No. 3 - Dom Williams breaks free against USC
For the most part, WSU's offense against USC was dreadful. The Cougars not only struggled to pick up first downs, but yards at all. Excluding this play to Williams, WSU averaged 2.7 yards per play. Thanks to an even worse offensive performance from USC, however, the Cougars were in the game in the fourth quarter. One big play by either side was likely to lead to victory and Dom Williams was the one to make it. There wasn't much there on this 3rd and 9 screen pass but that didn't matter. He juked the first defender out of his shoes, stepped out of another tackle and was off to the races for 50 yards. Had Bobby Ratliff been able to get a lead block, Williams likely would have been gone. The play set up the go-ahead field goal.
No. 2 - Deone Bucannon lowers the boom
I'm weaving through the defense, I'm going to score. Coach, take a good picture ... I'm dead. That is what I imagine Corey Grant was thinking before he became acquainted with Deone Bucannon. That play remains one of the biggest clean hits I've ever seen. You know it's a big hit when all you hear is a collective "oooohhh" from the opposing crowd.
No. 1 - Damante Horton to the house against the Trojans
WSU won a football game on the road against USC and did it without scoring an offensive touchdown. If Horton hadn't snagged this interception, I'm not convinced WSU would have scored the entire game. It certainly looked like the Cougars were going to get shut out in the first half. Then with less than 40 seconds to play in the first half, Horton jumped a route and tied the game. The situation, the stakes and the outcome make this the top play of 2013.
There you have it, the top 50 plays of 2013. We'll be back tomorrow to recap the entire countdown. Prepare your bandwidth for a post with 50 GIFs. Until then, we're done here.