History of Fumbles and INT Returns for a Michigan TD

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on August 12th, 2015 at 10:27 PM

Back awhile ago I did a post from the SuperGuide-Record Book on Kickoff and Punt returns for TDs and said I'd do INTs and Fumble returns for a part 2. 

Here it is.

Every interception and fumble returned for a Michigan TD since stats became official in 1948.

 

INT Returns for a TD

Record when accomplished: 40-5-1

Date

Player

Yards

Opponent

Result

11/11/1950

Harry Allis

32

vs Indiana

W 20-7

10/8/1955

Mike Rotunno

81

vs #6 Army

W 26-2

10/5/1957

Mike Shatusky

56

vs Georgia

W 26-0

10/4/1958

Gary Prahst

42

at #14 Michigan State

T 12-12

10/18/1958

Gary Prahst

33

at #17 Northwestern

L 24-55

9/30/1961

Ken Tureaud

92

vs #9 UCLA

W 29-6

11/4/1961

Bennie McRae

34

vs Duke

W 28-14

11/2/1963

John Henderson

23

vs Northwestern

W 27-6

9/28/1968

Marty Huff

44

vs Duke

W 31-10

10/19/1968

Jerry Hartman

62

at #19 Indiana

W 27-22

11/2/1968

Dan Parks

50

at Northwestern

W 35-0

11/8/1969

Bruce Elliott

40

at Illinois

W 57-0

9/25/1971

Thom Darden

92

vs UCLA

W 38-0

10/30/1971

Thom Darden

60

vs Indiana

W 61-7

9/30/1972

Randy Logan

32

vs #18 Tulane

W 41-7

10/28/1972

Dave Brown

68

vs Minnesota

W 42-0

10/18/1975

Tom Seabron

40

vs Northwestern

W 69-0

10/18/1975

Dave Devich

23

vs Northwestern

W 69-0

9/25/1976

Calvin O’Neal

29

vs Navy

W 70-14

10/9/1976

Jerry Zuver

60

vs Michigan State

W 42-10

10/1/1977

Mike Jolly

50

vs #5 Texas A&M

W 41-3

11/12/1977

Dominic Tedesco

30

at Purdue

W 40-7

10/23/1982

Keith Bostic

54

at Northwestern

W 49-14

10/5/1985

Garland Rivers

27

vs Wisconsin

W 33-6

10/7/1989

Lance Dottin

22

vs Wisconsin

W 24-0

9/29/1990

Martin Davis

27

vs Maryland

W 45-17

9/7/1991

Lance Dottin

50

at Boston College

W 35-13

1/1/1994

Clarence Thompson

43

NC State

W 42-7

9/30/1995

Chuck Winters

36

vs Miami University

W 38-19

11/22/1997

Andre Weathers

43

vs #4 Ohio State

W 20-14

9/19/1998

William Peterson

51

vs Eastern Michigan

W 59-20

9/19/1998

Anthony Jordan

32

vs Eastern Michigan

W 59-20

1/1/1999

Ian Gold

46

#11 Arkansas

W 45-31

1/1/1999

James Whitley

26

#11 Arkansas

W 45-31

11/18/2000

Julius Curry

50

at #12 Ohio State

W 38-26

9/14/2002

Marlin Jackson

19

at #20 Notre Dame

L 23-25

9/27/2003

Jeremy LeSueur

60

vs Indiana

W 31-17

10/10/2003

Jacob Stewart

34

at #17 Minnesota

W 38-35

9/4/2004

Ernest Shazor

88

vs Miami University

W 43-10

9/25/2004

Grant Mason

25

vs Iowa

W 30-17

9/9/2006

Max Pollock

12

vs Central Michigan

W 41-17

9/16/2006

Prescott Burgess

31

at #2 Notre Dame

W 47-21

9/27/2008

John Thompson

25

vs #9 Wisconsin

W 27-25

10/10/2009

Donovan Warren

40

at #12 Iowa

L 28-30

9/3/2011

Brandon Herron

94

vs Western Michigan

W 34-10

10/6/2012

Raymon Taylor

63

at Purdue

W 44-13

10/5/2013

Blake Countess

72

vs Minnesota

W 42-13

11/23/2013

Brennen Beyer

7

at Iowa

L 21-24

9/20/2014

Willie Henry

7

vs Utah

L 10-26

 
 
 
 
 
Fumbles Returned for a Touchdown
 
Record when accomplished: 8-3
 

Date

Player

Yards

Opponent

Result

11/1/1952

Tony Branoff

0

vs Illinois

L 13-22

9/11/1971

Dave Rather

0

at Northwestern

W 21-6

10/25/2003

Markus Curry

2

vs Purdue

W 31-3

9/18/2004

Lawrence Reid

5

vs San Diego State

W 24-21

10/29/2005

Leon Hall

83

at Northwestern

W 33-17

9/16/2006

LaMarr Woodley

54

at #2 Notre Dame

W 47-21

11/14/2009

Ryan Van Bergen

14

at #21 Wisconsin

L 24-45

11/13/2010

Cam Gordon

58

at Purdue

W 27-16

9/3/2011

Brandon Herron

29

vs Western Michigan

W 34-10

10/1/2011

Courtney Avery

83

vs Minnesota

W 58-0

10/12/2013

Frank Clark

24

at Penn State

L 40-43  4OT

 
 
I was pretty shocked to find out that there have only been 11 fumble return TDs in almost 60 years. Maybe it has something to do with the times and players being faster, or them thinking they can take it home?

Comments

Wolverine Devotee

August 12th, 2015 at 10:44 PM ^

I remember that Leon Hall one like it was yesterday. I remember being kinda worried about that game because Northwestern was scoring a ton of points that year. 

That long run back that seemed like it took forever as Morgan Trent followed him on a convoy under the dark skies with the helmets shining in the light.

God I want the season to get here already.

The Brandon Herron returns were hilarious. He had a historic day where he became the first player to ever return* an INT and fumble in the same game and then he faded back into obscurity after. 

*I'm sure it was done pre-1948, but there aren't complete records going back further than 1948, so 1948 is the first year stats are considered official.

befuggled

August 13th, 2015 at 1:54 PM ^

The rules were changed in I believe 1992 to allow the defensive player to advance a fumble from anywhere on the field. (Which doesn't explain the period from 1992 to 2002, but we only had three interceptions for touchdowns in the eighties, too, so go figure.)

I'm not exactly sure what the old rules were; obviously it did happen prior to 1992. The ball may have needed to not touch the ground, which would make returns much rarer. I also googled something about the ball needing to be past the line of scrimmage, which does not ring a bell with me. That would also make returns for touchdowns less likely, as the offense would usually be between the recovering defensive player and the end zone.

WolverineHistorian

August 13th, 2015 at 1:05 AM ^

The reason the list is so short for fumble returns is because college football didn't allow fumbles to be advanced (for offense or defense) until 1989. So I'm not sure what the deal is with the 1952 Illinois and 1971 Northwestern games listed.

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Alton

August 13th, 2015 at 11:47 AM ^

That's 100 percent correct, at least in the case of Northwestern 1971.  My recollection is that Michigan attempted a long FG and Northwestern had a player back in the end zone--like Auburn did against Alabama leading up to their "kick 6" return.

The Northwestern player in the end zone jumped and blocked Michigan's FG attempt at the cross bar, as was legal at the time, but an alert Michigan player (Bo Rather) was sprinting downfield and jumped on the ball right there in the end zone before the Northwestern player could get to it.

Alton

August 13th, 2015 at 1:20 PM ^

I think if you were to look at the highlights, if there are any, you would find that Calvin O'Neil's touchdown against Navy in 1976 was actually not an interception, but an intercepted lateral, one that should count as a fumble return than an interception return.  Obviously, the statistician recorded it as an INT, but I recall a lateral that was grabbed before the Navy halfback could catch it.

Evil Empire

August 13th, 2015 at 12:44 PM ^

during the 1989-present era.  Most of them were short, only six with double-digit return yards.

At the risk of going there, it seemed like Carr's teams were coached to fall on fumble returns and play it pretty safe with interception returns.  I can only think of one interception return, by Marlin Jackson (?), that led to a fumble by the returner.  It seemed a shame, especially when the offense played so conservatively that points were at a premium.

The Citrus Bowl against Arkansas with two pick-sixes was memorable.  Charles Drake had a great, weaving INT return against Illinois in 2002, covering 46 yards in the middle of the field.  Phil Brabbs recovered a fumble after kicking off near the end of that same game, grabbing the ball at about the 24 and getting tackled near the pylon.

Crisler 71

August 13th, 2015 at 3:16 PM ^

Even from 1989 util 1992 the defense could not return a fumble unless it happened behond the line of scrimmage.  So a botched handoff in the backfield could not be returned until 1992.

Laterals and pitchouts that are dropped in the backfield are considered muffs, not fumbles, and cannot be advanced.  They are treated like a muffed punt.

Fort Wayne Blue

August 14th, 2015 at 10:03 AM ^

Perhaps the derth of returned fumbles and pick 6's has to do with the field. as in the way that college football isn't played in the middle of the field like the NFL. The angles to get around players the mass of players would be weird, plus you're probably closer to a sideline and can get pinned in .... idk, just "thinking outloud"

Fort Wayne Blue

August 14th, 2015 at 10:03 AM ^

Perhaps the derth of returned fumbles and pick 6's has to do with the field. as in the way that college football isn't played in the middle of the field like the NFL. The angles to get around players the mass of players would be weird, plus you're probably closer to a sideline and can get pinned in .... idk, just "thinking outloud"