His team may have lost, but young Aussie Mason Fletcher won a whole new legion of fans with his performance in one of America’s biggest college football games.
The 21-year-old is the son of AFL legend Dustin Fletcher, who played 400 games for Essendon and was best known for his nervous physique and tendency to throw long bombs and torpedoes from outside 50 .
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And Mason clearly inherited that ability, which he showed playing for the Cincinnati Underdogs against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl – the college football playoff game.
In the second quarter, Fletcher unleashed a monster 54-yard punt that trapped Alabama inside their 10-yard line.
He was puffed up and celebrated by swinging his arms in the ‘billionaire strut’ style made famous by UFC star Conor McGregor.
A massive TV audience of 19 million viewers watched the game and many were stunned by Fletcher’s performance on the big stage.
“Accessories for Mason Fletcher to make the most of the opportunity to become a household name,” tweeted British athletic form analyst Rory Flanagan.
US AFL player Mason Cox said, “Love it! Strut your stuff, man! “.
Fletcher mocked Alabama after his punt, then attempted to remove the ball from under a bunch of players to secure a turnover before being quickly dismissed by an opposition player.
American football fans couldn’t get enough of the confident Australian stepping into the thick of it and causing a stir.
Fletcher even caught the attention of famous American animator Pat McAfee, who shared his admiration for the punter in a hilarious video on twitter.
“Fletcher hits the strut after 54 yards and now he’s picked up and tossed about,” McAfee said.
“Almost caused turnover, going into the heads of every player in Alabama. Mason Fletcher crushing the Bama boys!
With his long flowing red hair and lean arms that seemed like they could snap like a twig at any moment, McAfee had found his latest cult football hero.
“Look, people were talking about the size of his arm,” he said.
“Wrong angle, he’s got fucking pipes man, pipes!” Watch that, watch that flow, hit bombs, cause rollovers, hit the strut, flex those fucking 15 inch pythons.
“Mason Fletcher is a problem guy. Good luck (Alabama coach Nick) Saban. You were getting ready for (Cincinnati quarterback) Desmond (Ridder), getting ready for Mason Fletcher. It’s impossible.”
Unfortunately, Fletcher’s efforts weren’t enough to get the Bearcats to cross the finish line against the number one seed Alabama.
In the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Brian Robinson of Alabama ran 26 times for 204 yards, and Bryce Young completed 17 of 28 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns as the Crimson Tide rolled over previously undefeated Cincinnati 27-6. .
Alabama won a sixth straight semifinal appearance to reach the final for the sixth time in seven years.
“I’m really proud that this group has made it this far,” said Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. “Now is not the time to be relieved, but it is time to take advantage of what we have accomplished.”
Defending champion Alabama and rival from border state Georgia advanced to the US College Football Playoff Championship game with dominant performances in the semifinals.
Alabama (13-1) will face the Bulldogs (13-1) for the title on January 10 in Indianapolis.
The Crimson Tide will pursue a fourth playoff crown following the 2015, 2017 and 2020 season titles, ending an undefeated campaign last season by beating Ohio State 52-24 and spoiling Georgia’s only trip to the Champions League final. playoffs in overtime to cap off the 2017 season.