Services Held for John Thomason, Fumbler in Riegels’ Famed Run

Associated Press

Funeral services were held Wednesday for John (Stumpy) Thomason, 83, whose fumble in the 1929 Rose Bowl game led to the “Wrong Way Riegels” play in Georgia Tech’s 8-7 victory.

Thomason, a retired automobile dealer and a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, played halfback at Georgia Tech in 1927-1929.

It was in the second quarter of the Rose Bowl that California center Roy Riegels scooped Thomason’s fumble and went 66 yards in the wrong direction before he realized his mistake, turned around and was tackled by Georgia Tech at his 1-yard line.


On the next play, Vance Maree broke through the line and blocked a punt for the winning safety.

Thomason scored the touchdown in the win which led to Georgia Tech’s 10-0 season. He went on to play professional football with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Brooklyn Dodgers.