"Illegal Touching" on that weird punt reception

YamhillBear
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I still don't know what was the reasoning behind the "illegal touching" penalty on that play where Wharton was receiving the punt and our guy ran into him.

If I'm remembering correctly, Wharton had waved for a fair catch. As the ball came near, a Cal blocker engaged with a BYU defender ran into Wharton, with the ball going past them both (neither touched the ball). Further back, a BYU player grabbed the ball and started to run. Whistled dead, with an "illegal touching" penalty called, reviewed, and confirmed.

So, what exactly was the infraction? Seems like if we had touched it, they could've taken possession and run with it. If we didn't touch it, they can touch the ball to down it (but not run with it). The commentators had no explanation that I heard... can any of you rules experts explain?

ecb
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Illegal touching is what happens when the punting team downs the ball. There's no yardage added ball is dead where they touch it. Totally normal. Commentators made it much more confusing than it was.
ColoradoBear
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It confused me enough to look up the rules - technically the punting team 'downing' the ball by touching it first is illegal touching.

That ref had a few explainations that were head scratchers- but were not incorrect - mostly explainations that obfuacated the issue at hand.

On the punt, it had to be that replay was checking weather Wharton or another Cal player touched the ball before BYU.

Also, a muffed punt cannot be advanced by the punting team, just recovered.
ColoradoBear
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ecb said:

Illegal touching is what happens when the punting team downs the ball. There's no yardage added ball is dead where they touch it. Totally normal. Commentators made it much more confusing than it was.


Referees generally give more clear explainations too. But those announcers were bad. We're they even in the building? Felt like they were confused so often on obvious plays. It could be that BYU had a crap press box with no TV monitor, but it was especialy painful to hear them talk about the spot in anambiguous way when it was pretty clear on TV at home.

BTW, the ball isn't dead after illegal touching - the receiving team can advance it, but often not a good idea to go near the ball.
Rushinbear
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ColoradoBear said:

It confused me enough to look up the rules - technically the punting team 'downing' the ball by touching it first is illegal touching.

That ref had a few explainations that were head scratchers- but were not incorrect - mostly explainations that obfuacated the issue at hand.

On the punt, it had to be that replay was checking weather Wharton or another Cal player touched the ball before BYU.

Also, a muffed punt cannot be advanced by the punting team, just recovered.
No different than downing. If we didn't touch it, they downed it. If we did, their ball.
FuzzyWuzzy
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ColoradoBear said:

ecb said:

Illegal touching is what happens when the punting team downs the ball. There's no yardage added ball is dead where they touch it. Totally normal. Commentators made it much more confusing than it was.


Referees generally give more clear explainations too. But those announcers were bad. We're they even in the building? Felt like they were confused so often on obvious plays. It could be that BYU had a crap press box with no TV monitor, but it was especialy painful to hear them talk about the spot in anambiguous way when it was pretty clear on TV at home.

BTW, the ball isn't dead after illegal touching - the receiving team can advance it, but often not a good idea to go near the ball.
Actually, once the punting team has touched the ball, the receiving team can advance it and cannot lose possession of it by fumble. So once the punting team has touched the ball, a member of the receiving team can try to scoop it up and start running without fear that he will muff the scoop or otherwise fumble.

The no-fumble-after-illegal touching rule is designed to prevent, for example, a member of the punting team from batting the ball off of a member of the receiving team, then recovering it.

The reason why many coaches tell their punt team not to go near the ball once it is rolling around on the ground is that they are afraid of their player (a) not being smart enough to remember this rule (really), or (b) a player misjudging whether a member of the kicking team has touched it, thus opening himself up to the possibility of losing possession by fumble. It's Ok to go pick it up but you better be damned sure the kicking team touched it first.

Years ago in the NFL, a punt team "touched" a punt on the field but it ended up rolling into the end zone. Both teams started jogging to their sidelines, assuming it was a dead ball. The ref will always wait until the ball has come to a complete stop before whistling it dead. While the ball was still rolling around a bit in the EZ, a member of the receiving team (the Rams) snuck back, scooped it up, then started jogging toward the other end zone so as not to arouse suspicion. Then after 30-40 yards he started sprinting and ended up with a 100 yard touchdown return, if I recall correctly.

FuzzyWuzzy
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Isn't there a rule that says a member of the kicking team cannot "block" a member of the receiving team into the punt returner, or into the ball? Maybe that is what the refs were trying to say?
MilleniaBear
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Agreed. Cal multiple times blocked guys after fair catch was signaled. The "halo" around the receiver is void if the receiving team is blocking the kicking team intot he halo. Cal should probably stop blocking once fair catch is signaled or we will be muffing more punts.
bearister
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That cost Les Moonves $100+ million.
Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the House of Detention
I got some friends inside
kad02002
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FuzzyWuzzy said:

ColoradoBear said:

ecb said:

Illegal touching is what happens when the punting team downs the ball. There's no yardage added ball is dead where they touch it. Totally normal. Commentators made it much more confusing than it was.


Referees generally give more clear explainations too. But those announcers were bad. We're they even in the building? Felt like they were confused so often on obvious plays. It could be that BYU had a crap press box with no TV monitor, but it was especialy painful to hear them talk about the spot in anambiguous way when it was pretty clear on TV at home.

BTW, the ball isn't dead after illegal touching - the receiving team can advance it, but often not a good idea to go near the ball.
Actually, once the punting team has touched the ball, the receiving team can advance it and cannot lose possession of it by fumble. So once the punting team has touched the ball, a member of the receiving team can try to scoop it up and start running without fear that he will muff the scoop or otherwise fumble.

The no-fumble-after-illegal touching rule is designed to prevent, for example, a member of the punting team from batting the ball off of a member of the receiving team, then recovering it.

The reason why many coaches tell their punt team not to go near the ball once it is rolling around on the ground is that they are afraid of their player (a) not being smart enough to remember this rule (really), or (b) a player misjudging whether a member of the kicking team has touched it, thus opening himself up to the possibility of losing possession by fumble. It's Ok to go pick it up but you better be damned sure the kicking team touched it first.

Years ago in the NFL, a punt team "touched" a punt on the field but it ended up rolling into the end zone. Both teams started jogging to their sidelines, assuming it was a dead ball. The ref will always wait until the ball has come to a complete stop before whistling it dead. While the ball was still rolling around a bit in the EZ, a member of the receiving team (the Rams) snuck back, scooped it up, then started jogging toward the other end zone so as not to arouse suspicion. Then after 30-40 yards he started sprinting and ended up with a 100 yard touchdown return, if I recall correctly.




I had my team do this when I was coaching in Denmark. Unfortunately, the referees did not know the rule, so they just kind of made us take the ball at our own one
HighlandDutch
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Yeah, I think we had a pedantic ref at a home game years ago who insisted on telling us every time a punt was downed that it was illegal touching.

As bad as illegal touching is, of course, it's not nearly as bad as "striking a pose," right???
KenBurnski
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The same BS call was made years back against Paul Reubens
FuzzyWuzzy
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HighlandDutch said:

Yeah, I think we had a pedantic ref at a home game years ago who insisted on telling us every time a punt was downed that it was illegal touching.

As bad as illegal touching is, of course, it's not nearly as bad as "striking a pose," right???
I laughed out loud at that announcement. Reminded me of a Madonna song.

That was one of the weirdest officiated games I have ever seen. So many phantom calls.
Cal89
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I believe this is the play where Wharton was interfered with when his lower leg was hit by the BYU player's leg. With all that was being discussed, that aspect was not noticed. Wish I could find the video...
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