There are nine fouls listed in the NCAA Football Rule Book that include the loss of the right to repeat the down. Most involve passing or kicking plays. Here are some play situations involving loss-of-down fouls to test your rules knowledge.
Play One: On third-and-10, the quarterback throws a forward pass to a wide receiver who steps on the sideline as he jumps to catch the ball for an 11-yard gain. What is the result of this play?
Answer: When a forward pass is first touched by a player who is out of bounds or has been out of bounds, this is a foul for illegal touching. The penalty is loss of down at the previous spot — the line of scrimmage. There is no penalty yardage included in the enforcement.
Play Two: On third-and-5 from the opponent’s 30-yard line, the quarterback takes the snap and sets the ball on the ground as he fakes a pitch to the running back going to his left. The left guard waits for one count, picks up the loose football and carries it around the right end for a 9-yard gain. What is the result of this play?
Answer: The “fumblerooski” is illegal and a foul for a planned loose-ball play in the vicinity of the snapper. The penalty is 5 yards from the line of scrimmage and loss of down. It will be fourth-and-10 from the offensive team’s 35-yard line.
Play Three: On fourth down from the opponent’s 45-yard line, the punter takes the snap and attempts to run around the end for the first down. After getting 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, he sees he can’t make the first down and punts the football. What is the result of this play?
Answer: It is illegal to punt the football when the kicker’s entire body is beyond the line of scrimmage. The penalty is 5 yards from the line of scrimmage and loss of down. It will be first-and-10 for the opponents at the 50-yard line.
Play Four: Trailing late in the fourth quarter and out of timeouts, the offense has third-and-15 from the opponent’s 30-yard line. The quarterback rolls out and runs 10 yards downfield. As he is about to be tackled inbounds, he tosses the football backwards and out of bounds at the 21-yard line. What is the result of this play?
Answer: When an offensive player intentionally throws the football backwards and out of bounds to save time, this is a foul for an illegal pass. The penalty is 5 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down. It will be fourth down at the 25-yard line. The game clock will start on the referee’s ready-for-play signal.