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Watch Virginia’s trick play against North Carolina!

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One of the best trick plays we’ve seen all year.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall and company have had a lot of unique plays in the playbook this season. Despite the Cavaliers’ 35-14 loss to North Carolina on Saturday afternoon, this trick play on fourth down was one of the best we’ve seen all season.

Bold strategy, but it pays off.

A video posted by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on

Struggling to get the ball moving all day, Virginia’s 62-yard drive had stalled in the second quarter. In his post-game, Mendenhall said that about three plays prior, based on how the drive was going, he had already decided that he would employ this play, should the situation arise.

“Coach Mendenhall walked by me on the sidelines,” Matt Johns said after the game. “And he had a paper over his mouth and he was talking, and I didn’t even know he was talking to me.”

“‘We’re going Butts and it’s field goal,’” Johns quoted Mendenhall.

Named after tight end Evan Butts, who was the snapper for this scheme, it was a play that the coaches had developed and that they had practiced for about four weeks now.

When Virginia spread out into formation, North Carolina’s “No. 23 (Cayson Collins) was pointing at Butts,” Johns said, “and I was thinking in my head, ‘Well now, the play isn’t going to work.’ And so Sam [Hayward] ran to the sideline and 23 ran with him and then Butts was wide open.”

“I hadn’t thrown in about two hours, so I just tried to keep calm, cool, and collected.”

“It was a really well-executed and thought-out play and credit goes to Coach Poppinga.”

The touchdown tied the game at 7-7 with about five and a half minutes to play in the half.