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Encyclopedia > Roy Riegels
Riegels, 1929
Riegels, 1929

Roy "Wrong Way" Riegels (April 4, 1908March 26, 1993) played for the University of California, Berkeley football team from 1927–1929. His wrong-way run in the 1929 Rose Bowl Game is often cited as the worst blunder in the history of college football. April 4 is the 94th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (95th in leap years). ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... March 26 is the 85th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (86th in leap years). ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... The University of California, Berkeley (also known as UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, and by other names, see below) is the oldest and flagship campus of the ten-campus University of California system. ... Look up Football in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Rose Bowl is an annual American college football game, usually played on January 1 (New Years Day) at the stadium of the same name in Pasadena, California. ...


The game

On January 1, 1929, the Bears faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Midway through the second quarter, Riegels, who played center, picked up a fumble by Tech's Jack "Stumpy" Thomason. Just 30 yards away from the Yellow Jackets' end zone, Riegels was somehow turned around and ran 65 yards in the wrong direction. Georgia Institute of Technology The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is located in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. With over 16,000 students, Georgia Tech is one of four public research universities in the University System of Georgia. ... The Rose Bowl is an annual American college football game, usually played on January 1 (New Years Day) at the stadium of the same name in Pasadena, California. ... Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. ... The end zone is a term in both Canadian football and American football. ...

Teammate and quarterback Benny Lom chased Riegels, screaming at him to stop. Known for his speed, Lom finally caught up with Riegels at California's 3-yard line and tried to turn him around, but he was immediately hit by a wave of Tech players and tackled back to the 1-yard line. The Bears chose to punt rather than risk a play so close to their own end zone, but Tech's Vance Maree blocked Lom's punt and Georgia Tech scored a safety, giving them a 2-0 lead. Look up Punt in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Riegels was so distraught that he had to be talked into returning to the game for the second half. Lom passed for a touchdown and kicked the extra point, and Riegels blocked a Tech punt in the second half, but Tech would win the game—and their second national championship—by a final score of 8-7.


After the game, coach Nibs Price defended Riegels, saying "It was an accident that might have happened to anyone." Price credits Riegels as the smartest player he ever coached. Riegels explained that he was hit during a pivot and wound up doing a U-turn, which faced him the opposite direction. Later, the NCAA football rules committee would pass a rule barring a player from advancing a recovered fumble once it hits the ground. Riegels would take his spot as captain during his senior year, earning All-America honors. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA, often said NC-Double-A) is a voluntary association of about 1200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletics programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. ... An All-America team is a sports team composed of star players. ...

Despite the nationwide mockery that followed, Riegels went on to live a normal life, serving in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, coaching high school and college football—including time at Cal—and running his own chemical company. He was even able to capitalize on his blunder, parodying the now-famous run in vaudeville acts. The opening sequence of the movie "Flight", by Frank Capra, is based on Riegels and uses photographs of him. 1. ... Combatants Allied Powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Axis Powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000,000 Total dead... Frank Capra (May 18, 1897 – September 3, 1991) was an Italian-American film director and a major creative force behind a number of highly popular films. ...

In 1991, Riegels was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Riegels died in 1993, at the age of 84. In 1998, he was posthumously elected to Cal's Hall of Fame.

Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1960's would do the same thing in a regular season game. Jim Marshall could be: Jim Marshall, the United States politician Jim Marshall, the United Kingdom politician Jim Marshall, owner and founder of Marshall amplification Jim Marshall, a United States football player ... City Minneapolis, Minnesota Other nicknames The Vikes, The Purple People Eaters Team colors Purple, Gold, and White Head Coach Brad Childress Owner Zygi Wilf General manager Rob Brzezinski Mascot Ragnar League/Conference affiliations National Football League (1961–present) Western Conference (1961-1969) Central Division (1967-1969) National Football Conference (1970...

Quotes from and about the 1929 Rose Bowl

  • "He's running the wrong way. Let's see how far he can go."—Georgia Tech head coach Bill Alexander
  • "What am I seeing? What's wrong with me? Am I crazy? Am I crazy? Am I crazy?"—Broadcaster Graham McNamee, calling the game on radio
  • "Coach, I can't do it. I've ruined you, I've ruined myself, I've ruined the University of California. I couldn't face that crowd to save my life."
"Roy, get up and go back out there — the game is only half over."—Halftime exchange between Riegels and head coach Nibs Price
  • "For many years I've had to go along and laugh whenever my wrong-way run was brought up, even though I've grown tired listening and reading about it. But it certainly wasn't the most serious thing in the world. I regretted doing it, even as you do, but you'll get over it."—Letter from Riegels to Paramount High School's Jan Bandringa in 1957. Bandringa had intercepted a pass only to run it 55 yards into his own end zone, resulting in a safety for Centennial High, who won the game 9-7.

External links

  • Cal ranks Riegels as #3 most memorable moment in the history of Bears football
  • Roy Riegels Profile at Rosebowl Legends



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