Friday, January 4, 2013

One Point Safety: Fiesta Bowl & Ballad of Ron Cherry

With 8:03 remaining in the third quarter of the Ducks-Wildcats Fiesta Bowl game, Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota ran for a two-yard touchdown to give Oregon a 31-10 lead. After lining up for the PAT, the Wildcats blocked Ducks kicker Alejandro Maldonado's extra point attempt, linebacker Ryan Mueller recovering the football at approximately the two-yard line, and retreating into the end zone before lateraling the ball to defensive back Allen Champan, who recovered the loose ball once again for a safety, worth one point and confirmed via instant replay review.

As referee Ron Cherry explained:
On the previous play, we have an unusual ruling. The ball was blocked, caught, carried back into the end zone and declared dead by the defense. That play results in a one-point safety.
Cherry has had the mic for other unique calls before, such as the collegiate "giving him the business" personal foul (a revival of NFL official Ben Dreith's "giving him the business down there" penalty) and a "graphics blocked" extra point review.

As for the Fiesta Bowl, the relevant rules are NCAA 8-1-1 and 8-3-2-d, which specify that a safety occuring during a try after touchdown is worth one point, as is a field goal during that stopped clock period. Furthermore, approved ruling (AR) 8-3-2-IX exemplifies a one-point safety, wherein the defense recovers at the two-yard line, fumbles into the end zone, recovers once again and is downed (one-point safety).

As broadcaster Brad Nessler explained, a similar play occurred during a 2004 Texas A&M vs. Texas game.

In NFHS high school, this would not be the case, as during a try, the ball shall become dead upon a turnover.

Wrap: Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats, 1/3/13
Video: Ducks benefit from one point safety after blocked kick attempt during Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (ESPN)


Nathan said...

It's still possible to have a 1-point safety in NFHS, though not during a kick try (which becomes dead "when it is evident the try will be unsuccessful"). This scenario works in the NFL, too: A snaps the ball on the try and fumbles; the ball comes to rest at the B 2-yard-line where B1 kicks the ball into the end zone. There (a) B2 recovers and is downed, or (b) the ball crosses the end line. In both cases, the ball is dead in B's end zone as a result of B's force (NFHS) / impetus (NFL). The result of the play is a safety worth 1 point for A.

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