Sunday, October 16, 2005

Was it a Penalty?

The NCAA rulebook for football clearly states that no player can "grasp, pull, lift, or charge into [the ballcarrier] to assist him in forward progress."

Matt Leinart did not get into the endzone on his initial QB sneak. He spun to the outside, which was the point at which Reggie Bush, in his own words, "shoved [Matt] in there as hard as I could"

That's a penalty.

In fairness, I have to say it's a penalty I've never seen called. I've heard of it, but I've seen dozens of short-yardage and goalline pileups and blockers who try to nudge a ballcarrier forward, and I can not recall this particular foul ever getting called. That doesn't change the fact that Reggie Bush helped USC get into the endzone on what was, according to the RULEBOOK and not just the angry bitterness of an ND student, an illegal move. And it doesn't make the loss hurt any less.



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At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive read many online comments suggesting that teammates pushing a ballcarrier forward are commonplace and that therefore the lack of infractions called is due to an implicit understanding, akin to the lack of holding calls in various situations. Well, football is fast and rough and teammates do tumble into ballcarriers.And lineman, who push for a living, do get away with illegal assistance every once in a while. But the kind of purposeful, sustained and apparently effective push from a running back starting 5 yds behind the line of scrimmage pulled off by Bush? Well, that's bloody RARE. The reason THOSE kinds of pushes are rarely called is not because they're common and 'understood' to unworthy of enforcement. They're rarely called because they rarely occur. I understand the rules make no distinction between which teammates can push and which cant,and I think calling the penalty is a less than satisfying conclusion to a classic game. I also dont think its valid for some to claim ND lost on one missed call to the exclusion of all the game's other variables. I only object to the idea that what Bush specifically did was in any way common. In terms of it's riskiness and it's separation from the game's accepted norms, it was an egregious infraction.


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