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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Flashback: Really long touchdown runs

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill electrified the crowd last year with a 68-yard touchdown run against Hawaii. It was the longest run in school history by a quarterback. Looking at past seasons, Hill or running back Jamaal Williams may have an even longer run in 2013.

Going way back 65 years, to 1948, running back Dave Chadwick was one player who had the potential to break off a really long run. The media guide for that season said this about Chadwick:
Cougar coaches hope Chadwick will be able to convert some of his track speed to good purpose on the gridiron. The speedy Idaho prep star has been clocked at 9.8 in the hundred yard dash. Injuries kept him from showing his wares fully as a freshman. His followers claim he has everything that goes to make a great back except the seasoning.
Chadwick's track speed came proved helpful in game seven against Montana. He set a school record with a 79-yard touchdown run that was key to the Cougars winning 26-20. The win snapped a four game losing streak for BYU.

Jumping ahead 10 years to 1958, and Chadwick's 79-yard dash was matched by Weldon Jackson. Jackson did it in the Utah State game on November 1. Like Chadwick's run, BYU needed that touchdown run from Jackson against the Aggies. The 1958 game was a close, low scoring game that ended with BYU on top 13-6.

That wasn't the only really long run by Jackson that season. Jackson actually broke Chadwick's school record in the first game of the season 55 years ago. BYU started the 1958 season at home against Fresno State. The Cougars had never beaten the Bulldogs. They had never had a player run longer than 80 yards in a single play either. Both streaks were broken. Jackson ripped of a 93-yard touchdown run for a touchdown, and that fueled BYU to a 29-7 blowout win.

For 45 years Jackson's 93-yard remained the standard. No BYU player would have a longer run from scrimmage. A few players would have some really long runs, but none matched or surpassed Jackson's record.

Eddie Stinnett was one of those players. In the sixth game of the 1983 season, BYU had its most explosive day, ever, on offense--777 yards of total offense. A 71-yard touchdown run by Stinnett in the first quarter helped set the tone that day. New Mexico was leading 7-0 before Stinnett's burst. That run ignited a 38-point scoring run by BYU to finish the first half. The Cougars won the game 66-21.

Fifteen years after Stinnett's run, Ronney Jenkins broke off an even longer run. In 1998, BYU found itself in a 14-14 tie game against UTEP going into the fourth quarter. With 12:14 to play in the game, Jenkins scored on a 79-yard touchdown run to give BYU a 21-14 lead. It started a 21-point fourth quarter that gave BYU a 31-14 win.

It took another five seasons (2003) for Jackson's record to finally fall. Reynoldo Brathwaite had an 89-yard non-touchdown run against New Mexico in game three of the season. As it turned out, he was just getting warmed up. At San Diego State for game six, BYU stopped the Aztecs in the middle of the second quarter to take over at the 5-yard line. Playing it safe, BYU called a run of the middle. Brathwaite took the hand off, ran up the middle, and kept on running 95-yards for a touchdown. It was a new school record that still stands 10 years later. It helped BYU win 44-36.

With two dangerous runners expected to be in the backfield, maybe 2013 will be the year BYU scores another really long touchdown run.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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