Monday, December 5, 2011

'The catch' keeps MU's Dobson in national spotlight

By Andrew Ramspacher
Staff Writer
The Herald-Dispatch
Huntington, West Virginia

       Editor’s Note: Aaron Dobson’s scoring reception was a key play in Marshall’s 34-27 overtime over East Carolina on Thanksgiving weekend. The Herd notched its sixth win to become bowl eligible. Marshall will face Florida International in the Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl on December 20 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The game will be televised at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

       It's nearing 2,000,000 views on YOUTUBE
       It's appeared more on ESPN recently than Chris Berman.
       It's a back-hander. A one-hander. An eye-popper. A circus grab.
       It's "The Catch."
       And over one week later, The Catch creator is still reveling in its glory.
       No, Aaron Dobson's helmet size hasn't grown to exponential proportions, but, hey, the Marshall University receiver doesn't mind the bits of extra love. "It's been a lot of attention," said Dobson, whose spectacular 13-yard touchdown snag against East Carolina on November 26 has turned into a national sensation. "People have just been tweeting me and all this. It's just a lot of attention. It's what's up, though. I like it a lot. I can get used to it."
       To recap, the Thundering Herd, trailing the Pirates 17-10, was faced with a third-and-goal with less than one minute to play in the first half.
       Rakeem Cato took a shotgun snap and fired a fade to the left corner of the end zone. There was Dobson, all 6-foot-3, 204 pounds of him, about to go after a football as though it was a tip-off during his South Charleston High School basketball days. His competition was ECU's Derek Blacknall, a 5-foot-11, 176-pound defensive back.
       "I just threw it up for grabs, hoping he would come down with it," Cato said.
       But as Dobson leaped, his left arm appeared to be tugged by Blacknall, leaving him with only one option. If this thing was going to be completed, it had to be with one hand – his back hand. "The only time I thought he was going to drop it was when he came fully down," Cato said.
       But gravity wasn't going to affect this ridiculous of a play.
       Dobson quickly returned to the turf with pigskin in hand, signaling a score. A replay soon appeared on the videoboard in Joan C. Edwards Stadium's south end zone, giving the crowd its first slowed down view.
Naturally, the Joan went nuts.
       "I remember being back there kicking the extra point," said Tyler Warner. "I was getting lined up and everyone in the stands just went crazy. They made that big loud noise at one time. I was like, 'Wait, what's wrong? What happened?' And it was the replay on the scoreboard. It was amazing."
       The Catch has since made its rounds, first appearing at No. 1 on SportsCenter's Top Plays that evening. To date, it has yet to lose that spot, reigning supreme in SC's "Best of the Best."
       "Yeah, I almost lost to the frisbee dude," Dobson said of his Thursday "Best of the Best" competition, a diving off-a-speed-boat frisbee catch made by specialist Brodie Smith.
       But thanks to his fans – and teammates – The Catch remains victorious.
       "I've watched it probably two or three times," said Tyson Gale. "My dad called me and said, 'Hey, it's on Best of the Best. I voted for it. Hopefully, he keeps on winning that thing."
       "I voted on for him to be the Best of the Best," Warner said.
       And who knows? Is an ESPY in Dobson's future?
       "I mean definitely," he said. "If I can get there, yeah, I can definitely have a good time there."
And for the record, The Catcher himself has replayed his greatness "seven or eight times," he said.

Contact Andrew Ramspacher at 304-526-2759 or

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