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Rules review video: Unconventional handoffs, unnecessary roughness, and roughing the passer

National college officiating coordinator Steve Shaw explains some rulings from Week 10



2023 media video #11

National coordinator of football officials Steve Shaw posted his weekly video breaking down rules and interpretations from Week 10 of the college football season. The following statistics were given about targeting fouls so far this season. These fouls remain on a downward trend over the past 3 seasons.

In FBS, there have been 111 targeting fouls enforced, which is an average of 0.17 per game. Of those, 51 have been crown of the helmet targeting, while 60 are targeting a defenseless player. Four players have been called for 2 targeting fouls. If they get a 3rd, they will be suspended 1 full game. In FCS, there is an average of 0.16 targeting fouls per game, and 2 players with 2 targeting fouls.

  • Handing the ball. 4th down and short led to the offense lining up in a usual QB sneak formation. After receiving the snap under center, the quarterback handed the ball off to the back behind him through his legs, which is legal.
  • Unnecessary roughness. The receiver caught the pass and was stopped legally at first by the defender; however, after the initial stop, he lifts and slams the receiver into the ground. Shaw mentioned that with the focus on player safety, this type of unnecessary play will be flagged every single time.
  • Roughing the passer. An interception was called back due to a roughing the passer call. The defender got through the blocks and dove at the quarterback. He made forcible and dangerous contact in the knee area, and it was clear he was not blocked into the quarterback.
  • Fumble out of bounds. On 3rd down, a receiver makes the catch and subsequently fumbles the ball forward and out of bounds. By rule, the ball is brought back to the spot of the fumble and belongs to the fumbling team.
  • Penalty on a successful PAT. Offsides penalties on a point-after attempt cannot carry over to the kickoff. In this scenario, the team elected to accept the penalty, take the 1 point off the board, and attempt a 2-point conversion at the 1.5 yard line instead of the 3. (During the attempt, the defense forces a turnover and returns it all the way to the end zone for 2 points of their own.)
  • Offensive pass interference. A pick play occurred with the offense running crossing routes. One receiver clearly blocked and impeded a defender with contact that got his teammate separation. Although a flag was thrown, it was picked up after discussion. This was because the ball was caught behind the line of scrimmage, so there could be no pass interference on either the offense or defense.

Josh Cohn is a college student at Rochester Institute of Technology studying software engineering and creative writing. As a child, Josh would often officiate games between his friends and classmates during recess.