ASU Player Tries to Return Muffed Punt the Wrong Way

Dan CarsonTrending Lead WriterDecember 31, 2013

Never take the path of least resistance. 

Arizona State’s Alden Darby made a heads-up play against Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl Monday night, but he ended up running the wrong way with the ball.

The bizarre incident was spotted by Kiley Kmiec of Next Impulse Sports and began after two Texas Tech players muffed a punt near their own 40-yard line. The loose ball bounced in Darby’s direction, and the ASU safety grabbed it and began running.

The entertaining part—he was running in the wrong direction.

A GIF of the incident was crafted by @CJZero. It’s something you can see over and over and still not quite understand.

GIF via @CJZero

Darby pivoted in the direction of his own end zone and began searching for daylight. His teammates were all around him, waving frantically toward Tech’s end zone, to no avail. 

The ASU safety made several moves in the wrong direction before being brought down by Lloyd Carrington and a pair of Red Raiders. To be clear, Carrington is a defensive back for ASU. He helped bring down his own teammate. 

It was that kind of night for the Sun Devils, which went on to lose to 37-24 to the Texas Tech. Darby and the ASU secondary just couldn’t contain the Red Raiders passing game, surrendering 403 passing yards and four touchdowns to Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb. 

Something seems really wrong with Alden Darby tonight. Been out of position all night long, running backwards, etc.

— Matthew Vincent (@Mister_MVP) December 31, 2013

Alden Darby recovered he ball and was clearly confused on which way to return the ball. Could've returned it to the house. #ASU #HolidayBowl

— Ben Haber (@HaberBen) December 31, 2013

While it may appear as though Darby cost his team an easy six points by running the wrong way, that would not be the case. NCAA and NFL rules state that a player on the kicking team cannot advance a muffed punt after recovery, so Darby's awkward return was more embarrassing than harmful.

Look on the bright side, Sun Devils fans. He could’ve went full “Wrong Way” Parker and returned it 60 yards the other way.

At least Darby was brought down quickly. That’s the silver lining in this playbook. Rimshot.


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