Division II squad Colorado Mesa broke the scoreless tie early in the second quarter of their matchup with FCS San Diego by way of a passing touchdown from freshman offensive lineman Cooper Mumford.
That one was just how they drew it up.
THE O-LINEMAN SCOOPED UP THE FUMBLE AND THREW A TD ? pic.twitter.com/GJuIhcEMz6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 9, 2023
On third down and eight yards to go on, the Mavericks were ten yards away from the end zone in a scoreless game. They attempted what looked like a complicated double-reverse, but a San Diego defender blew up the play and forced the second transfer to fall to the ground, rather than reach the man in motion.
That's when Mumford stepped in, and lived the dream that every offensive lineman shares, but very few ever get to realize. In a moment of extreme heads-up play and improvisation, Mumford corralled the fumble, but he didn't simply fall on it like linemen are often taught to do in moments of crisis. Instead of mitigating the situation and cutting losses, Mumford strode to his left, and threw against his body.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Keenan Brown also kept his head about him, ran a nice improvised route and was wide open; Mumford's on-the-run throw hit him right in the chest, and Brown coasted into the end zone.
We've seen "big man" touchdowns many times throughout the years; d-lineman pulling off the pick six or scoop and score, tackle-eligible gadget passing plays on offense, and the classic "keep the legs moving" goal-line rush from a player who's simply bigger than everyone else. But other than Dontari Poe's memorable jump pass, it's pretty rare for linemen getting involved by throwing the ball, and even Poe didn't throw a "traditional" pass like Mumford's, which ended up somewhat resembling a conventional bootleg play.
It's amusing to think about the reception that might have awaited Mumford if his throw went differently; there are many football coaches across the country who would be fairly ticked off if their freshman offensive lineman decided to throw a pass in a real game. But it all worked out, and the Mavericks even pulled off the upset by the margin of- you guessed it- seven points, making Mumford's touchdown pass one of the most unique difference-making scores you'll ever see.
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