While I am happy Miss. State lost

I am confused about the Memphis punt return for a TD. MSU punts it, MSU player touches inside the 5. It bounces back to about the 6. Not sure if another MSU players touched the ball then or not (think so, but can’t tell). Ball appears to come to a rest. Memphis player swoops in grabs the ball and runs 94 years for a TD.

Isn’t the ball dead once the punting team touches it???

All I know is that Marc Curles was the ref…


I thought the ball was dead, too. But I thought it because the official was waving his arms above his head to stop the clock. Apparently it’s still a live ball when the punting team touches it but doesn’t down it. I thought they’d done that. Maybe it’s not dead at all until the official says it’s dead. I guess the Memphis kid made a heady play, but I’m not convinced it was legal.

I hate Memphis about as bad as I hate any team in the country. They think they should be in the SEC.


It’s actually a rule violation if the punting team is the first to touch the ball. That’s why the returner can pick up the ball without worrying about a fumble.
I don’t like Tiger High but I like the Stankvomit Leghumpers even less.


Ball is never dead until the official blows a whistle. In this case, MS State touched the ball but never downed it so the ball still live. It’s the same reason that if the punting team runs down to the 1-yard line and touches the ball which then rolls into the end zone it is a touchback and not spotted where the touch happened. Smart move from Memphis player because he could actually touch the ball and not possess it and STILL get the ball if MS State recovers after his touch following their first touch.

Then why do punting teams send players to stop the ball from getting into the EZ and not get flagged when they do? If there’s no penalty is it really a violation?

Regardless, if that’s the rule, we need our returners to always be ready to grab the ball if the punting team touches it.


How many times does the punting team touch the ball dead (touching it first)? Today, GS several times downed the ball inside our 10. They touched it first, touched it down. If the receiving team touches the ball first (and does not possess it), the kicking team can “recover it” and get possession.

In fact (unless I am having a total brain fart) the punting team is the first team to touch the ball a good portion of the time.

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And it’s illegal every time. Which is why the Memphis guy, who knew the rule, dashed in to pick up the ball. Normally they just let the play end.

If the Memphis guy fumbles, Memphis gets the ball back at the spot of the violation, which was at the 4. No risk whatsoever because Moo U committed the violation.

I think the basis of the rule is that the punt receiver must have the opportunity to field the punt. Even if it’s lying on the ground. If the punt team touches it, violation.

“And it’s illegal every time.”

I am 99% sure you are incorrect on this one. We see punting teams catch the punt. I have never, ever, seen a flag for the punting team touching the ball first. Ever.

I may have been wrong about the ball being dead when the punting team touches it (I guess you have to “down it” as opposed to just touch it) but I do not believe it is a penalty for the punting team to touch it first. That happens multiple times in every game. Never a flag, never a call that it is some type of “violaton.”


That’s because flags are thrown ONLY when a foul has been committed; by definition, illegally touching a punted ball (scrimmage kick) is NOT considered a foul.

When the ball is illegally touched, it is also, by definition, still a live ball. That is why: (1) the receiving team can still scoop up the ball and attempt to advance it, and (2) the kicking team must successfully down the punted ball to end the play (dead ball).

Sure sounds like it really isn’t “illegal.” I GET (now) that the ball is not dead when the punting team touches it. But if you can catch the ball at the 1 yard line (the punting team player) and stand there; the official blows the play dead; the receiving team gets the ball on the one yard line. Hard to say anything “illegal” happened.

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Indeed … it’s often quite beneficial for the punting team to willfully commit this violation. :open_mouth:

So here’s the deal. Say (1) the receiving team does not make an attempt to field the punt because they don’t want to risk touching it first and have the punting team recover the muffed punt return, and (2) the punting team chooses not to illegally touch/down the punt. What would trigger the ref to blow the play dead? … the ball is still alive! That is why there is no foul called (or penalty assessed) against the punting team for committing this violation. And for the receiving team … since they did not attempt to field the punt, they get possession wherever the ball is blown dead.

While I’m at it … most folks misuse the term penalty; as in, we commit too many penalties. Technically, players commit fouls (either common or personal). The penalty is the resulting yardage markoff, sometimes loss of down, sometimes awarded 1st down, and sometimes player ejection.

This may help.

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On a punt the place where the punting team touches the ball - prior to the receiving team - is the point of first touching. The official normally drops a bean bag to mark the spot, because the return team has the option to take the ball at that spot. But the ball isn’t dead at that spot, and is live as long as still moving and after until the official blows it dead. As mentioned above, the offense can pick up the ball after first touching with no risk. If they advance it up the field further than the point of first touching - they can take it wherever the run ends. If they don’t get that far they can still take the ball at the point of first touching if it is to their advantage. And as stated above - even if the returner - who picks up the ball after first touching - fumbles and the punting team recovers - the receiving team can still take the ball at the point of first touching.

Good punt teams always pick up the ball after first touching so the returners can pick it up and run. Or make sure it goes out of bounds, or otherwise gets blown dead.

Sorry about the long explanation. Bottom line - always play to the whistle or bad things can happen.

I get all of that (now). In retrospect, I think I knew that the ball wasn’t dead. What I didn’t know was (if true) that it was some type of technical violation for the punting team to touch the ball. I know there are things for which there is not a “penalty” (side line violation, first offense) but they throw a flag and announce the “violation.” In all my years of playing football and watching football, I have seen thousands of punts touched first by the punting team (think of all the times the punting team players are walking beside the ball as it rolls down the field and either touch it (just touch it) after it stops rolling or grab it about the 1 yard line to stop it from going into the endzone and I have never seen any reference to that being “a violation.”

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Exactly! Punting team can catch the ball to down it. I have it on VID. AWESOMELY BLATANT. The ref definitely waived his arms over his head, threw his marker to the ground and even marked it with his foot, probably blowing his whistle! Besides the State player knocking it back to prevent the touch back, another State player touches it not once, but TWICE! Holds it steady to the ground.

And Mike Leach, what did he do? Didn’t seem to bother him in the tiniest!

Just watch the vid, not only did the REF waive his arms over his head, threw his marker and marked with his foot placement. Two Memphis players touched it, the one who knocked it back and the 2nd player touched it not once, but twice, he went back to make sure and steadied the ball to the turf. And Leach did nuthin’, didn’t call time out or even argue it. Be interesting to see if ESPN, etc, cover it or BURY it. :sunglasses:

I saw espn and Sec network cover it. They did not bury it.

Also, Memphis had two No. 4 on the field.

Strange play. You would think replay official could see that. And the official in the back that blew the signal would be looking at numbers.

Yikes. Too many screw ups for him.

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He must have some real embarrassing info on some important people in the SEC somewhere. Too many blatant bad calls that have been made and those glossed over.

The second MSU player to touch the ball was on the ground holding the ball. No one was around him; even if it was just a milisecond; the ball should have been blown dead right then. My sense is the officials got carried away with the craziness of the play and just allowed it. Really dumb and detrimental to the outcome.