College: 8-6

SECTION 6. Touchback

When Declared

ARTICLE 1. It is a touchback when:

a. The ball becomes dead out of bounds behind a goal line, except from an incomplete forward pass, or becomes dead in the possession of a player on, above or behind their own goal line and the attacking team is responsible for the ball being there (Rules 7-2-4c).

Approved Ruling 7-2-4 I. B20 intercepts a legal forward pass (a) in his end zone, (b) on his three-yard line, and his momentum carries him into his end zone, or (c) in the field of play and retreats into his end zone (no momentum). In each instance, B20 fumbles in the end zone and the ball rolls forward and out of bounds on Team B’s two-yard line. RULING: The ball belongs to Team B at the spot of the fumble (Team B’s end zone); (a) touchback, (b) Team B’s ball at the three-yard line, and (c) safety (Rules 8-5-1 and 8-6-1).

Approved Ruling 8-6-1 I. Team A’s fumble strikes the pylon at the intersection of Team B’s goal line and sideline. RULING: Touchback. Team B’s ball at the 20-yard line (Rules 7-2-4c and 4-2-3b).

Approved Ruling 8-6-1 II. B1 intercepts Team A’s legal forward pass in his own end zone, after which A1 snatches the ball from his hand while in Team B’s end zone. RULING: Touchdown. The ball is not automatically dead when intercepted, but it becomes dead when A1 gets possession. However, if in the judgment of the official there is perceptible time during which the Team B player made no attempt to advance after the interception, declaring a touchback is justified.

Approved Ruling 8-6-1 III. Third and five at the B-20. Defensive back B44 intercepts a forward pass in his end zone. While still in the end zone he fumbles the ball. It rolls forward, goes into the field of play, and in the scramble A33 kicks the ball into the end zone and over the end line. RULING: First and 10 for Team B at the B-30. The result of the play is a touchback, and therefore the basic spot for enforcement of the 10-yard penalty for illegally kicking the ball is the B-20. The touchback results because of the new impetus given by A33 kicking the ball. (Rules 2-16-1a, 8-7-1, 10-2-2d-2a)

b. A kick becomes dead by rule behind the defending team’s goal line and the attacking team is responsible for the ball being there (Exception: Rule 8-4-2b).

Approved Ruling 6-3-4 III. During a scrimmage kick the untouched ball is at rest on the Team B three-yard line when B22 blocks A80 into the ball, forcing it into the end zone where it touches the ground. RULING: The ball is dead when it touches the ground in the end zone. Touchback—Ignore touching by A80 (Rule 2-11-4). By rule, neither team has touched the kicked ball (Rule 8-6-1b).

Snap After a Touchback

ARTICLE 2. After a touchback is declared, the ball belongs to the defending team at its own 20-yard line, unless the touchback results from a free kick, in which case the ball belongs to Team B at its 25-yard line. The ball shall be put in play on or between the hash marks by a snap (Exception: Extra period rules). The snap shall be from midway between the hash marks, unless a different position on or between the hash marks is selected by the team designated to put the ball in play before the play clock is at 25 seconds or before any subsequent ready-for-play signal. After the ready-for-play signal, the ball may be relocated after a charged team timeout, unless preceded by a Team A foul or offsetting fouls.