FanPost

The stupidest rule in football

It burned us earlier in the season, and it burned Mississippi State in a big way tonight.

Against Arkansas, in overtime, Mississippi State needed to get to about the 5 yard line for a first and goal. The ball carrier made a great play to get a hand down and get down to about the 2, and might have scored, but for an Arkansas player's helmet which knocked the ball loose near the left sideline. It went sailing and landed out of bounds beside the end zone.

Had the fumble occurred short of the first down marker and rolled out of bounds in first-down territory, MSU would have had a first down.

Had the ball come out on the two, as it did, and gone straight out of bounds, MSU would have had a fisrt down.

Had the ball landed beside the end zone but crossed the sideline before it crossed the goal line extended, MSU would have had a first down at the point where the ball crossed the sideline.

Unfortunately for Mississippi State, the ball crossed the goal line before it crossed the sideline, and the result was a touchback. Although Arkansas failed to convert a 40-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing possession, the Razorbacks did wind up winning the game in the second overtime.

I'm not saying the Bulldogs would have won the game if they had retained possession, but they would probably have scored, and they'd likely have scored a touchdown. Arkansas would have had to do more than run three short plays up the middle and kick a field goal.

Someone kindly explain to me the logic or fairness behind this touchback rule. If a ball is fumbled out of bounds anywhere else on the field, it is not a turnover; the offense gets to keep the ball, and puts it back in play wherever it went out of bounds. The onus is on the defense to recover the fumble. And if the offense is fortunate enough to fumble the ball forward, they get the benefit of the ball's forward motion, possibly earning a first down in the process. 

Now obviously you can't give them a touchdown for fumbling the ball out of bounds - but shouldn't they get to keep the ball and put it in play at the point of the fumble, or at the one yard line, or something?```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

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