Late in the first half of Oregon State’s football game against Cal Poly last Saturday, Jake Luton saw Champ Flemings racing down the center of the field.
So the sixth-year senior quarterback let the ball fly from around his own 45 yard-line.
As it left his hand, Luton felt like the ball would be a little bit underthrown.
While that might have been the case, Flemings made sure to help out his quarterback.
Cal Poly defensive back Carter Nichols appeared to have a bead on the pass around the 10 and was licking his chops for a possible interception.
Flemings, listed at 5-foot-5, also was tracking the ball and was not about to let Nichols come down with it.
Both players went for the ball around the 5 with Flemings snatching it out of the grasp of the 6-foot Nichols at about the 2 and taking it into the end zone for a touchdown.
Luton said he wasn’t surprised Flemings made the spectacular catch.
“He’s very, very athletic and the thing about Champ is he’s a go-getter,” Luton said. “He wants the ball and he’s going to come down with it. He kind of has that ‘it’ factor at receiver. It’s like I can throw maybe a bad ball and he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure he comes down with it. It was pretty amazing watching it on the field.”
Flemings and the catch were the talk of social media and he received numerous mentions on Twitter.
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“It’s kind of a tough situation because you kind of want to say thank you to everybody and acknowledge everybody but at the same time keep a humble mindset,” Flemings said. “Like we always say, last week was last week and we’ve got to focus on this week. I try not to pay attention to it too much but it does feel good have so much support from the fans.”
Flemings has always played with a bit of a chip on his shoulder with so many questioning him because of his height.
“I don’t think there will ever be a time when I don’t play the game of football with something to prove,” Flemings said.
It may have been the highlight catch of the game, but Flemings wasn’t done there as he later caught a 75-yarder for a score and finished with five receptions for 142 yards.
“Me and Champ have put a lot of work in the last year so I wasn’t surprised by it all and I was really excited for him,” Luton said. “I think he’s going to be a big piece for us the rest of the year.”
Luton certainly has confidence in Flemings no matter the situation.
“I know I can give him a shot,” Luton said. “That was all that play was. … I knew it was tight coverage, it was a deep ball down the field but it was a 50-50 ball for my guy to go get and I trusted him to go get it.”
It was a much-needed performance with both Tyjon Lindsey and Trevon Bradford not in the lineup last week.
“My confidence level never really wavers but definitely having a big game like that does instill some confidence in you,” Flemings said. “And more important than confidence in myself I think it just builds some confidence in my coaching staff, my O-line, my quarterback, the other guys in the receiver room.
“So that’s what’s really important to me is the fact that I put it on tape and they were able to see that those are type of things I’m capable of.”
Mostly, Flemings was just happy to have the opportunity to contribute to the team and the victory.
“This week I was granted with a bigger opportunity than the one’s I had been getting in the past so (the coaches) thought I prepared well, they thought when I got my opportunities I made the most of them and that’s what they were most happy about,” he said.