From Zion Williamson taking the college basketball world by storm to Wisconsin’s Morgan McDonald completing his revenge tour by winning the DI cross country individual title at his home course, 2018 has given sports fans plenty to talk about.
But besides outstanding performances, there’s something particularly special about a comeback. It produces a roller coaster of emotions — heartbreak for one side, elation for the other and a glimmer of hope to the teams and fans who don’t know if they have enough time to turn around their own games.
Here are the best college sports comebacks 2018 gifted us:
Drexel makes the biggest comeback in men’s basketball history
Drexel’s Feb. 22 game against Delaware may have ended with a close 85-83 final score … but the game has a much more interesting story than a 2-point difference.
Drexel completed the biggest comeback in DI men’s basketball history after rallying from a whopping 34-point deficit.
😱 INSANITY 😱
Drexel overcomes being down 34 points to defeat Delaware 85-83 the largest comeback in Division I MBB history! pic.twitter.com/to53hkzzB9
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 23, 2018
The Dragons scored 56 points in the second half to break the record that stood for 67 years. They held the Blue Hens to just 27 points of their own in the second half to pull off the feat. The previous record was from the 1950 season when Duke battled back with 32 points to defeat Tulane.
Oregon State rallies down to the final out in Game 2 before winning Game 3 in the CWS
Arkansas looked like they were going to take the Game 2 win right down to the last at-bat. What the Razorbacks didn’t know was Oregon State’s Cadyn Grenier was up next, and something spectacular was about to happen. Grenier’s hit down the right field line went uncaught by the Razorbacks, giving him a chance to tie the game. Then Trevor Larnach hit a homer, adding two more Beavers runs to the total. Oregon State got its last-second win, forcing a Game 3 that it would also take.
Nevada takes down Cincinnati in the second round of March Madness
This year’s March Madness was everything a Wolfpack fan could ask for. After opening the game down 10-0, Nevada rallied from 22 points behind the No. 2 Cincinnati to reach the Sweet 16 for only the second time in school history.
Eric Musselman kept his team confident and calm throughout the meeting, making sure they would get a chance to fight for a shot in the next round. By halftime, Cincinnati was up 44-32 on Nevada, and had increased their lead to 65-43 with just over 11 minutes left. But that’s when the magic started to happen. Cody Martin played a big role in the comeback, starting with a layup and ending with a three-pointer with just 54.1 seconds left. A final jump shot attempt by Martin didn’t go, but teammate Josh Hall got the rebound and a jumper of his own with only 9.1 seconds left on the clock. The Bearcats didn’t have enough time to take back control, and the Wolfpack walked away with the 75-73 win.
They’ve kept that momentum going and are now ranked No. 6 in the nation. Do the Wolfpack have what it takes to make another tournament run in 2019?
Notre Dame rallies from 15-down to beat Mississippi State for the national title
The Fighting Irish went into the locker room with just 17 points to Mississippi State’s 30 by the end of the first half. Muffet McGraw must have reminded them that anything was possible after Arike Ogunbowale’s buzzer-beater to top UConn en route to the national championship.
Notre Dame stepped up its game in the second half, but still had a deficit to come back from. The Irish went on a 16-1 run to close the third quarter at a 41-41 tie. After back-and-fourth play, Notre Dame and Mississippi State found themselves tied once more, at 58-58, with just 40.1 second left. Then again, with the help of Arike Ogunbowale, they pulled off the win. A last-second buzzer-beater completed the 15-point comeback to mark Notre Dame’s first national championship since 2001.
Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 2 by the AP, right behind UConn. Will it have what it takes to go back-to-back this March?
Virginia scores 8 points in 7 seconds for comeback over Louisville
What do you know, it’s another unbelievable late-season college basketball comeback story! Perhaps Cavaliers fans were expecting it considering their team was ranked No. 1 in the nation. But, Virginia really waited until the last few seconds to get this win. The last seven seconds to be precise.
Louisville led Virginia 64-59 with just 11 seconds remaining. Ty Jerome hit a 3, but Louisville’s Darius Perry hit two free throws. Things were still in question. Now down 4, Perry fouled Jerome on a 3-point attempt. He made two free throws, but Virginia was called for a lane violation on the third. Louisville had one more possession, but ruined its game with a traveling call on the inbounds play. Virginia kept its luck alive with a Deng Adel basket with less than a second left. Virginia won the game 67-66, leaving Louisville fans heartbroken at home.
Crimson Tide’s comeback over Georgia…on two occasions
The first miracle comeback came in the national championship and was also the start of Tua Tagovailoa’s reign at Alabama. After coming in during the second half to replace Jalen Hurts, Tagovailoa threw three touchdown passes. The one that really counted was the 41-yard pass to DeVonta Smith for the 26-23 OT win over Georgia.
Then, after a long season of taking a back seat to Tagovailoa and remaining a team player, Hurts got a chance to make his own comeback for the Tide. This time, in the SEC Championship against a familiar foe — the Georgia Bulldogs.
A win meant a College Football Playoff berth, so both teams were trying their hardest to get back to the national championship. But, things looked rough for the Tide as the entered the half down 21-14 and Tagovailoa left the game early with an ankle injury. Just as the season before, the backup quarterback came in for the come-from-behind win. Hurts led two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, giving Alabama a 35-28 win over Georgia in Atlanta.
The win solidified their No. 1 spot in the CFP, where they’ll take on No. 4 Oklahoma in the semifinal game on Dec. 29.
USC goes from fifth to first place in the last leg of the Track and Field championship race
Southern California’s 4×400-meter relay at the national championship was truly one for the books. Heading into the final race of the meet, the Trojans trailed both Georgia (52) and Stanford (51). Only a 10-point, first-place finish would give USC its second outdoor title in program history.
And that’s exactly what the Trojans got, thanks to Kendall Ellis.
After trailing both Purdue and Oregon on the final leg of the race, Ellis kicked it into gear for an incredible final sprint. The USC squad clocked in at 3:27:06, 0.07 seconds better than Purdue, which finished in second place. It was enough to lift USC to 53 points and the national title.
Nebraska volleyball completes the reverse sweep against Illinois in the national semifinals
They didn’t pull off the upset win in the national championship, but Nebraska made some magic in the semifinals. The No. 7 Huskers were down two sets to No. 3 Illini, and things were starting to look gloomy for Mikaela Foecke’s squad.
That is until the third set got underway. They went 25-23, 25-20, 15-11 in the last three sets to complete the reverse sweep and set their date with Stanford in the title game. Foecke marked 19 kills, two aces and 11 digs during the emotional turn-around for her team. It was the fourth consecutive semifinal game the Huskers played in, as they entered the game as the defending NCAA champions.
Florida State softball wins the national championship after losing the first game in the WCWS
This comeback win was even more special as it was Florida State’s first national championship in program history. And that came after they lost their first game of the tournament (they’re only the third team in WCWS history to win the title after a first-game loss).
After trailing 3-0 to Washington in the first inning, the Seminoles made a statement comeback. Meghan King finished the tournament allowing just one earned run in 34.1 innings and prevented the Huskies from scoring the rest of the game. FSU, on the other hand, scored eight runs of its own, ending the night with a 8-3 win to make program history.
These are the comebacks that stood out to the NCAA team. Did we miss something? Email email@example.com and we’ll add it to the list.