Early in the first quarter of the USU-Wyoming game I think every Aggie fan was shocked when Kerwynn Williams let a kickoff get past him. Failing to chase after it, the Cowboys recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown.
One of the rules that almost every fan, and every player should know, is that a kickoff is a live ball after it goes 10 yards and can be recovered by both teams. Robert Turbin commented after the game, “The first thing that came to my mind was, Kerwynn what are you thinking? Do you not know that kickoff return is a live ball or what?”
No offense Turbin, but I am sure that Williams is very aware of the rules of kickoff returns being one of the best return men in college football. If you remember the play, the ball went through Williams’ legs and into the end zone. My guess is that Williams thought that the ball didn’t touch him when it went past. The ref thought it did and signaled that he touched it. That is important. While a kickoff is a live ball past 10 yards Rule 6 Section 3 Article 9 states: “The ball becomes dead and belongs to the team defending its goal line when a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone is subsequently untouched by Team B before touching the ground on or behind Team B’s goal line.” Therefore if Williams didn’t think he touched the ball he would have known that by going into the end zone it would be a dead ball.
The next rule that comes into question on the play is a lesser known one. While discussing it in the media room following the game a couple of the sports writers were not aware of it, as far as kickoffs are concerned.
Rule 6-3-12 says: No Team A player who goes out of bounds during a scrimmage kick down may return inbounds during the down (Exception: This does not apply to a Team A player who is blocked out of bounds and attempts to return inbounds immediately).
As you can see the player went out of bounds before recovering the ball. As soon as he touched it, it should have been blown dead, and the Aggies would have received the ball at the 25 yard line.
In fact I’m not sure his foot was in bounds when he recovered it.