A linebacker plays defense, in American football, and generally does not get very many chances to run with the ball. When Andre Parker, a linebacker for the Kent State Golden Flashes, scooped up the ball on the seven yard line in the team's first game of the 2012 season, he took advantage of the opportunity and ran 58 yards before being tackled by two players from the other team.
The play has grabbed plenty of attention, with video replays becoming an instant sensation on the internet, all because Parker was running the wrong direction. The fact that two players from the opposing team chased Parker, and even tackled him, makes it clear there was more than one player confused about what was happening.
Eventually it was ruled that the play officially ended when Andre Parker picked up the ball, as a muffed punt cannot be advanced (or retreated). Kent State kicked a field goal and went on to win the game by a final score of 41 to 21, over the Towson Tigers.
The following is a review of four more football players who have run the wrong way:
Roy Riegels: In the 1929 Rose Bowl game, Riegels was a team captain for the University of California, playing against Georgia Tech. Early in the second quarter he recovered a fumble on the first bounce and took off for the end zone, more than 60 yards away. According to a 1955 article in Sports Illustrated, when a teammate grabbed him at the 10-yard line, Riegels shouted "Get away from me ... This is my touchdown." At the three-yard line he was grabbed again and realized he was going the wrong way and turned around, but it was too late, as a wave of Georgia Tech players tackled him on his own one-yard line. A subsequent safety, on a blocked punt in the end zone, proved to be the margin of victory for Georgia Tech.
Andy Farkas: Nicknamed "Anvil Andy", Farkas was drafted out of the University of Detroit in the first round of 1938 by the Washington Redkins. Playing before the largest crowd in Detroit football history, on October 16, 1938, Farkas ran the wrong way for the Redskins, to score a safety and give the Lions a 2 to 0 lead. Fortunately for Farkas, who played fullback for Washington, he went on to lead the Redskins to a 7 to 5 victory.
Harry Buffington: On the first play of the 1947 All-America Football Conference season, the Brooklyn Dodgers' Elmore Harris returned the kickoff to his own 25-yard line before fumbling. Harry Buffington, the Dodgers' right guard, picked up the ball and ran towards the end zone. Only a few steps short of the goal line, he realized he was going the wrong way and tried to throw the ball away. Unfortunately for Buffington, the ball bounced off some Baltimore Colts' players and their fullback, Jim Castiglia fell on it for a touchdown. The Colts went on to win that game by a final score of 16 to 7.
Jim Marshall: On October 25, 1964, Jim Marshall (defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings) picked up a fumble by Billy Kilmer (receiver for the San Francisco 49ers) and ran it more than 65 yards, untouched, into the end zone. Unfortunately, Marshall's run resulted in a safety and two points for the 49ers. Marshall is quoted, on the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, as saying, "My first inkling that somethnig was wrong was when a 49er player gave me a hug in the end zone." The Vikings won the game 27 to 22, after Marshall caused a fumble by the 49ers quarterback, which Carl Eller returned ran (the right way) for a Vikings touchdown.
Harold Andrews has been a fan of college football for nearly 50 years. He has long considered it the most exciting and unpredictable sport to watch.