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Jalen Watts-Jackson’s Game-Winning Touchdown at Michigan Named ESPN Sport Science “Most Improbable” Newton Award Winner

Feb. 16, 2016

EAST LANSING, Mich. – ESPN Sport Science has named Jalen Watts-Jackson’s 38-yard fumble return for a game-winning touchdown as time expired at Michigan the Newton Award winner for “Most Improbable” Play of the Year in 2015. The play gave Michigan State a 27-23 victory over the No. 12 Wolverines on Oct. 17 at Michigan Stadium.

Watts-Jackson scooped up the mishandled snap by U-M punter Blake O'Neill and broke several tackles en route to the end zone. The unforgettable touchdown was named the No. 1 play in college football history in a story published on on Oct. 19, and it also was named the No. 1 play of the 2015 season at the ESPN College Football Awards Show in Atlanta on Dec. 10.

Unfortunately, Watts-Jackson suffered a dislocated and fractured hip on the play and was forced to miss the remainder of the season. He was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his game-winning touchdown. MSU head coach Mark Dantonio named the play "Rangers: Mission 4:10."

According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Spartans had a 0.2% chance to win the game before the final play.

ESPN Sport Science’s John Brenkus presented the Newton Award to Dantonio and Watts-Jackson earlier this month in East Lansing. The Newton Awards were formally announced on ESPN2 on Sunday, Feb. 14.

For a look at how ESPN Sport Science broke down the play, click here.

Named in honor of science's first MVP, Sir Isaac Newton, the Newton Awards recognizes the top moments in sports from a scientific perspective. While most awards shows are based on a voting process, the Newton Awards are judged on unprecedented scientific analysis of thousands of athletic performances from the world of sports during 2015.

Categories include “Best Geometry,” “Most Improbable,” “Best Flight,” “Best Vector,” “Best Catch,” “Projectile Launch,” “Best Power Output” and “Outstanding New Limit,” among others.



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