Last Saturday, Iowa’s Kevonte Martin-Manley became the third Big Ten player to ever return two punts for touchdowns in the same game. The other two went on to play professional football. But who are they?
Garcia Lane of Ohio State ran back two third-quarter Purdue punts for TDs in the Buckeyes’ 33-22 win over the Boilermakers in Columbus in 1983. The returns went 63 and 71 yards. It was his second and third career punt-returns for scores.
Lane, like wide receiver Martin-Manley, was no special-teams specialist. He was a three-year starter in the OSU defensive secondary, and was first-team All-Big Ten at cornerback in his senior season,. He went on to play in the USFL, NFL and CFL.
His son, Shaun Lane, also played for the Buckeyes. Shaun’s football career ended when he suffered nerve damage in his right arm while tackling Texas kickoff-return man Jordan Shipley in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.
Wisconsin’s Earl “Jug” Girard returned two punts for touchdowns in a 1947 game against Iowa in the Badgers’ 46-14 romp in Madison. They went for 65 and 85 yards.
Like Martin-Manley and Lane, Girard was a multi-dimensional player, not just a good return man. He was a Look Magazine first-team All-American as a 17-year-old freshman in 1944. He was good at passing, running and punting as well as kick-returns. He averaged 39 yards per punt in 1947. He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL.
Girard didn’t play as a sophomore or junior because he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in World War II.
Girard, known as “Jukin’ Jug,” is in the UW’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
By the way, the only FBS player to return three punts for touchdowns in a game was Oklahoma’s Antonio Perkins against UCLA in 2003.
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