The NAIA university in Phoenix played its first football game Saturday night, and while the Firestorm lost 40-16 to Missouri’s Evangel University, the game gave football fans around the world a moment to marvel at.
Arizona Christian freshman Gabriel Jordan turned a botched punt return into a 108-yard touchdown — or was it 109? — midway through the third quarter.
The play looked like a disaster at first, as the punt hit the artificial turf at Phoenix Shadow Mountain High School and bounced over Jordan, the ball caroming off his fingertips and into the end zone. Jordan went back to retrieve it with defenders closing in, picked up a couple of blocks to his right, got to the outside and then turned it on. Jordan sped past his teammates along the bench and reached the opposite end zone untouched.
Jordan was credited with only 100 yards under NAIA scoring rules, but that was good enough to break the NAIA record held by Ron Fuller of Evangel, who ran one back 97 yards vs. Missouri Southern in 1981.