It won’t go down as the prettiest first touchdown in a CFL franchise’s history but it might be one of the more memorable.
Trailing 32-0 to Saskatchewan on Saturday night and with little to lose, the hometown Ottawa Redblacks scored their first-ever touchdown at TD Place on a third-down pooch punt play.
The goal on a pooch punt is to have the ball downed before it crosses the opponent’s goal line but it went a little further on this night against an unsuspecting Roughriders defence.
After sneaking on the field, Redblacks backup quarterback Thomas DeMarco, who doubles as the team’s emergency backup punter, kicked the ball from the Ottawa 35-yard line early in the second quarter. Prior to the snap of the ball, receiver Dobson Collins, who was lined up behind DeMarco, motioned to his right and sprinted down the sideline as the ball was kicked.
As it bounced into the end zone and kept rolling, Collins outraced Saskatchewan linebacker Weldon Brown and cornerback Tyron Brackenridge, who let up as he neared the ball in the back of the end zone, and jumped on the ball.
Under CFL rules, a player can legally recover the ball without it touching an opposing player as long as said player is behind the kicker when the ball is kicked.
@REDBLACKS Not the outcome you'd hoped for...but, that onside punt recovery was awesome! High5 to Dobson Collins for getting on that play— Patricia (@Cherrykissesetc) August 3, 2014
Game officials believed it was a no-yards penalty rather than a touchdown but Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell made a successful challenge of the call and the Redblacks had their first touchdown on home turf on a 73-yard punt before a sellout crowd of 24,303.
It was the highlight of a 38-14 Redblacks loss, their fourth in five games to start the season.
And it was the first such successful play since Calgary’s Scott McKenzie achieved the feat in 1999. Dick Adams of the Ottawa Rough Riders also scored on the same play in 1973.