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College Football/Florida v Georgia Game


In the Florida v Georgia game today 10-31-2015 on the last play of the 1st quarter, Florida punted and Georgia's return man muffed the punt into his own endzone.  Florida recovered the muff and the refs ruled it a touchdown.  Shouldn't that have been a touchback?


Great question.  If the return team touches the punt prior to it touching the ground in their end zone, the return team must do something with the ball.  It is a live ball.  If Georgia had fallen on the ball, or if it had gone out of bounds from the end zone, it would have been a touchback (because the kick caused it to be in the endzone).  However, it is a live ball, so when Florida recovered it, it is dead where they recovered.  If that is in the end zone, it is a touchdown.

I hope that helps.  If the return team touches a punt, it is a free ball, and can be recovered by either team.  If recovered by the kicking team, it is dead where they recover it, but it is the kicking team's ball.  If that is in the end zone, it is a touchdown.

Thanks for the question!

Bill Robers

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William Robers


I can answer rules questions and officiating questions (including training, mechanics, and general questions).


College Football Official since 2005; assist in training newer officials.

Big Sky Conference Officials Association Sports Lawyers Association Rotary International

Law Degree from University of Minnesota Law School, 2001 MBA from Carlson School of Management at the U. of Minnesota, 2001 B.S. in Business Administration from Marquette University, 1997

Awards and Honors
Post-Season official in 2012 and 2013.

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