UNC’s Ryan Switzer ties NCAA record with punt return for TD

PHOTO: USA Today Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels were a popular pick to take the ACC Coastal Division this season but they got off to just a 1-5 start. They rebounded to win five of six down the stretch to close the season but most wondered how motivated they would be for their bowl game. 

The motivation question was answered quickly as the Heels got out to a 23-3 half-time lead. In the first half, T.J. Logan returned a kickoff 78 yards for a TD. Returning kicks for TDs is nothing new for the Heels, as they had five on the season coming in to their bowl game. That was Logan's second of the year. So who had the other 4 during the regular season?

That would be Ryan Switzer. He came into the game with 4 punt returns for TDs. In the course of three games (11/9 vs Virginia, 11/16 vs Pitt, 11/23 vs ODU), Switzer had 9 returns and he took 4 of those back for touchdowns. 

In the third quarter of the Belk Bowl, Switzer fielded a punt in traffic and took off up the middle, much to the bewilderment of the Cincinnati Bearcats special teams, and took it to the house. This was his fifth punt return for a TD this season and that ties the FBS NCAA record (with Chad Owens of Hawaii). 

Oh yeah, Switzer is just a freshman so Ted Ginn Jr, Antonio Perkins and Wes Welker (who all have 8 career punt returns for TD) could be seeing their names erased from the record books when all is said and done.


About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.