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Rule Book Question

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Waquoit

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4th and 5. A lineman gets a piece of the ball as it's being punted. The ball ends up 10 yards past the line of scrimmage where it is smothered by a player on the kicking team. Who's ball is it? I said the receiving team. The other 3 guys said it's the kicking team, just like if the return man muffed the catch. Anyone sure?
 

whaler11

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It's the receiving team's ball. I think it's called the neutral zone extended, but the ball would have to be touched past that zone for it to be live.
 

whaler11

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I actually had something sort of similar happen in a JV game I officiated at HPHS 5 or so years ago. Into the wind the punter didn't get the ball past the neutral zone and it was in the offensive backfield and hit a return team player. It was still the return team's ball.
 
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needs to be touched after it crosses the line of scrimmage by the return team in order for it to be considered a live ball
 
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This is the high school ruling, but my guess is it's similar if not the same for college.
Touching of a scrimmage kick by any player in or behind the expanded neutral zone is ignored. Providing R did not subsequently muff or fumble the kick beyond the zone and K subsequently recover, it is R's ball.
 
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4th and 5. A lineman gets a piece of the ball as it's being punted. The ball ends up 10 yards past the line of scrimmage where it is smothered by a player on the kicking team. Who's ball is it? I said the receiving team. The other 3 guys said it's the kicking team, just like if the return man muffed the catch. Anyone sure?

In that situation it's a turnover on downs to the receiving team at the spot where the kicking team player "smothered" it.

Any kick from scrimmage by an offense (place kick, drop kick, punt) is a dead ball for the offense. The kicking team may never advance the ball, unless the receiving team takes actions to make it live, (see Leon Lett thanksgiving snow game in dallas) even if it is touched by the receiving team in a block attempt, and the ball still crosses the line of scrimmage. It's still dead for the offense, until the receiving team makes it live BEYOND scrimmage.

If a kick from scrimmage is blocked and remains BEHIND the line of scrimmage, that's different, it's a live ball for both teams, and the offense can still advance it, but if the kick is on fourth down, needs to advance beyond the first down marker to retain possession.

I can't remember the last time I saw a kick on anything but fourth down, except for clock winding down types of situations, but if a kick were to be attempted on first, second or third down, and it crosses the line of scrimmage, and the defense doesn't make it a live ball, the offense cannot advance it and turns it over on downs. IF it's blocked, and stays behind scrimmage, the offense can recover it, and retain possession for another down.
 
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