Time to forgive Walter … if he was ever at fault

November 30th, 2011

Whenever Hawaii plays BYU, the name “Walter Murray” and the word “drop” come up together repeatedly … even now 27 years later.
The more times I look at Murray’s “drop” of a potential game-winning touchdown pass in the 1984 game against BYU, the more I question whether it’s actually a “drop.” Raphel Cherry’s pass is certainly catchable, but not an easy one — even for the 6-foot-4 Murray.
One of the most subjective things in sports, the dropped pass. When we were kids, to me it was, “If you can get your hands on it, and you don’t catch it, it’s a drop.” Not so these days. Maybe I’m just getting old and soft, but like Red Sox fans and Bill Buckner a few years ago, maybe it’s time for Warrior fans to “forgive” Walter Murray (especially since it’s debatable whether this is actually a “drop” or not). Murray was one of the best receivers in UH history and made plenty of big plays in his career.
Take a look at this video (sorry, it’s a BYU production, celebrating its 25 year anniversary of its national championship season). At the end it shows two views of the play. On the first, it looks like an easy drop. On the second, it looks like a very tough catch. I was sitting in the stands that night, behind the end zone, fairly close. But Murray’s back was to me, and I couldn’t judge drop or no-drop.
And, like Buckner’s error, it’s important to remember that the Cherry-Murray disconnect is just one play in the game; the incredible leaping goal-line tackle by Kyle Morrell of Cherry was huge. And that is the play the Cougars and their fans remember.

20 Responses to “Time to forgive Walter … if he was ever at fault”

  1. 2left:

    There are so many places to lay the blame. The week before, UH failed to score with first and goal and in a post-game interview, Dick Tomey said, “If we’re down in that situation again, we’ll run four straight QB sneaks.” Kyle Morrell didn’t have to be a mind reader to know that all he had to do was leap over the center and hit Cherry for a loss. Everyone who watched last week’s interview knew what play was coming. Make a TD there instead of a FG, and a FG would have won the game at the end and Murray would never had to make the catch.

    As far as the Murray drop, it’s been over 25 years, but my recollection is that Cherry had to rush the pass because the left tackle completely whiffed on his block. If the rusher from the backside was slowed for even a split second, Cherry might have delivered the pass right on the money.

    Finally, I remember watching a replay that showed June Jones (maybe another assistant) start yelling at Cherry as he approached the sidelines, only to have Tomey put his hand on JJ’s shoulder and calm him down. Good ol’ Tomey — knew when to back off and chalk one up as a “team loss”.

  2. dreardon:

    You have a good memory. Thanks for sharing.

  3. slenzi:

    Over the last two months BYU has been best D-1 in the nation for third-down conversions over the past two months, converting 2 out of every 3 times. Gotta put a stop to that. That puts them #4 in the nation.

  4. dreardon:

    Thanks for that slenzi. Very pertinent (and ominous) stat. UH is going to have to force some turnovers.

  5. Aloha Friday:

    Wow! You guys have awesome memories!!

  6. Dan-O:

    If you were there…..you remember. I do…..

  7. Warrior Dave:

    I was there but can’t remember all the fine details like some of you. Program your recorders…it could be a very special game :)

  8. cocobean:

    Haven’t seen the repay in ages. Was at the game went home to watch the replay. Never held it against Walter.

    Seems that play has grown to legendary proportion, The more it’s retold the more it’s made out to be a catchable ball, a drop. Truth be told, Murray accelerated, dove flat out with arms full extended. The ball was no more than 18 inches off the ground when it hit his outstretched hands.

    Alas, no catch. But definitely not a drop. Can’t recalll anyone at that time heaping anything close to what Buckner went through.

    But like I said, as time goes by and the story is retold. A good try that came out short is being made out a drop. Murray wasn’t crowned with goat horns then and certainly doesn’t deserve them now. No forgiveness necessary.

  9. Dave Reardon:

    8. maybe we should ask him to forgive all the people who called it a drop over the years.

  10. Sumwun:

    One play does not a game make!

  11. ihatethesec:

    In regard to the black quarterback, Coach Dick Tomey, while not quite on the same level as Don Haskins, was pretty progressive when it came to color blindness, wasn’t he? Not only Cherry, but Bernard Quarles, as well. My young friend at work, who takes the black quarterback as a given, doesn’t really remember that back in the day, many African-American signal-callers were asked to switch positions when they got to the NFL, like Cherry, who played in the secondary for the Washington Redskins(?). Looking back at that Walter Murray drop, I think, under the circumstances, Cherry threw the best ball possible, and No. 81, being a future second round draft pick, should have picked his teammate up and made that catch.

  12. Mike Yunk:

    Except that that’s what happened in the last Wisconsin election, the one that elected the now infamous Scott Walker.wow power leveling

  13. Sherice Svetz:

    HI Ans Sorry about the previous attempts of trying to write script into this wsywig. I removed the tag brackets. Here you go, this goes into the body:

  14. Morgan Rowels:

    valtrex 1 gm caplet gsk…

  15. Allan Feamster:

    Some truly wonderful articles on this web site , appreciate it for contribution.

  16. Diablo 3:

    Reading by way of your nice content material, will assist me to do so sometimes.

  17. Caitlin Cotrell:

    I need to indicate appreciation to this writer for rescuing me from this distinct setting. Just right after exploring by means of the the net and obtaining proposals which are not impressive, I considered my total lifestyle was carried out. Existing without the need of the presence of tactics to the issues you’ve got fixed as being a results of this report is often a crucial event, too as all those that will have in a very incorrect way harmed my career if I had not occur across your web page. Your key expertise and kindness in taking part in with every facet was invaluable. I’m not guaranteed what I would’ve performed if I had not occur across this sort of a topic like this. I am able to at this level search forward to my foreseeable future. Thank you a lot for this reputable and incredible help. I will not likely hesitate to refer the weblog to any individual who ought to have assist on this theme.

  18. Elise Kartchner:

    I actually desired to send a swift remark to value you for the pleasant information you happen to be posting on this web page. My extensive web seek has at the conclude from the day been compensated with affordable tips to share with my great pals. I ‘d declare that we internet site guests are incredibly endowed to be in a very superb internet site with extremely quite a few awesome experts with valuable ideas. I experience very satisfied to acquire come across your whole weblog and glance forward to several a lot more entertaining minutes studying here. Thank you once more for a whole lot of items.

  19. sverige bästa online casino med gratis casino:

    Hi there, I do believe your website could be
    having browser compatibility issues. When I look at
    your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it’s got
    some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you
    a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic site!

  20. Kisha Burts:

    Right today it seems like Drupal may ensue the preferred prose a blog platform presented right this moment. (coming from what I have read) Can live that just what you’re by in your blog?

Leave a Reply