Big men, big play: How Edwards almost had Deiter's glory

Offensive lineman Michael Deiter scored a touchdown last weekend, but David Edwards could have easily had that glory instead.

Image By: Brandon Moe

Michael Deiter finally got to live the glory he was always forced to watch as a bystander.

Late in the fourth quarter against Illinois, the Wisconsin Badgers dialed up a trick play. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook rolled right, turned around and lateraled the ball back to his left tackle, who had nothing but daylight on his way to the end zone.

It was Deiter’s first-career touchdown and likely his only career touchdown. He was the player ESPN chose to interview live on the field after the game, almost unheard of for an offensive lineman.

“I thought the worst part of it was right after we called it we had to wait five minutes for a TV timeout, so I think he might have been a little nervous about that,” Hornibrook said. “We were all wanting to run it and when we got in the end zone it was awesome, we went crazy. It was like a dogpile on him.”

All of the love, the celebration and the fame — the dogpile — could have been for David Edwards instead.

“We had both. It just depended on the hash,” Deiter said. “I got lucky it was on the left.”

The Badgers practiced the trick-play lateral in the week leading up to the game, and they prepared it for both of their offensive tackles. If the play was lined up on the right hash on the field, the lateral would go to the right tackle.

Against Illinois, Wisconsin had 3rd and Goal from the four-yard line, with the ball on the left hash. Deiter got the lateral, and Edwards was once again back to watching someone else score — the life of an offensive lineman.

“We said if we called it the other way, we were going to flip the tackles, just to piss David off,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph joked. “We weren’t sure which way it was going to go, but it was good.”

Of course, Edwards wasn’t pissed off that he didn’t get the ball. He’s not that kind of guy. The important thing for him was the Badgers got the touchdown and secured their eighth win of the season.

“We both kind of said it doesn’t really matter, whatever happens, happens,” Edwards said. “It was going to be cool either way.”

It was still cool for Edwards to see his teammate score. It might have meant more to Deiter to cross the plane for his first-ever touchdown than Edwards, who used to play with the ball in his hands.

He was a 225-pound quarterback during high school in Downer’s Grove, Ill., who totaled more than 2,000 yards of total offense. He was recruited to Wisconsin as an athlete who began at tight end, before putting on 90 pounds and moving to right tackle in 2016.

“I was joking with Deiter after the game, like, I’ve scored touchdowns before,” Edwards said. “So I was glad he got his, and it was really cool because that was a big score for us.

“I don’t know if you guys could see it, but I jumped up pretty high. I probably got about 20 inches off the ground there. I was really happy for him because he’s put in a lot of work here, and for him to get that kind of cool thing is awesome.”

No love is lost between Deiter and Edwards for the touchdown that really ended up as a matter of chance. If the ball had been spotted five yards to the right, it would have been the left tackle wondering what could have been.

“Whenever an offensive lineman scores, you have to celebrate it, but it definitely would have been in the back of my mind, if it could have been me,” Deiter said. “I’m sure he has a little bit of that, and hopefully we can get him one at some point.”

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