Georgia Tech running back David Sims had just dashed untouched into the end zone to come within one easy extra point of a tie with the Miami Hurricanes.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman watched in disbelief as the ball went wide left and the score remained 24-23.
At that moment I pointed to the sky for everyone whos up there, including Jordan, Perryman said after the 45-30 victory Saturday kept UM undefeated at 5-0. I felt like it was a blessing from up top.
Perryman, who had a game-high 11 tackles, has dedicated his season to the memory of a community college student and former football player he never met.
Jordan Kyle Denion, a high school lineman who reached the Maryland Class 2A state title game in 2010, died of a brain aneurysm Feb. 18 while taking a nap before dinner in his quaint hometown of Middletown, Md. He was 20.
Ive heard so much about how he looked up to me and was my biggest fan, Perryman said. Ill be 21 in December. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
Denions father, Robert, was gratified by Perrymans declaration on Facebook and Twitter that simply stated, RIP to one of my biggest supporters Jordan Denion. Its sad I never got to meet you but I will dedicate this season to you.
Robert Denion, his wife Teresa and two other sons received a condolence card signed by coach Al Golden, quarterback Stephen Morris, safety Deon Bush, receiver Herb Waters and lineman Sunny Odogwu. Golden later sent a long personal letter thanking the family for donating a 12-by-12-inch memorial brick at the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence.
The family and fans, most of whom had never met Jordan but communicated with him on the Internet, raised $1,500 for the brick.
Perryman said he heard about Denion, an avid UM message-board poster, from a close friend. Another friend gave Perryman a T-shirt with Denions photo and the Irish blessing, May the Road Rise to Meet You, on the back. Perryman, who leads UM with 34 tackles, wore the T-shirt after the Georgia Tech game.
It hangs at the front of my closet so its the first shirt I see, Perryman said. I never wear it at practice. I dont want to mess it up playing football.
Robert Denion, a computer network engineer, still grieves for Jordy, but has taken solace in the great support by fellow fans and Middletown community members. Teresa Denion still cant talk about her son publicly.
More than 2,000 people from the tiny town of just over 4,000 attended Jordans viewing.
Honoring a memory
The youth football players in the Middletown Valley Athletic Association (MVAA), where Denion played from elementary school through middle school, had his jersey No. 75 inscribed on every helmet this season. A 12-year-old named Joey Felton told his dad he wanted to dedicate his first touchdown of the season to Jordan, then took the first play from scrimmage and swept to the right for a 75-yard touchdown the significance of the TD and 75 blowing away Jordans dad.
I was like, Oh, my God. I cant believe what I just saw, Robert Denion, who spends Saturdays watching MVAA youth games, said of Feltons touchdown. It was almost like divine intervention.
Robert Denion wrote Perryman a letter of gratitude. Heres a kid who is a football star and he never met my son and had kind words for him. Him wearing that T-shirt what a nice thing to do. It means a lot to our family.