The once-in-a-blue-moon football post

So, apparently this year features an NCAA rule change on kickoffs. Heretofore, as we understand it, time didn’t start ticking again until the receiving team touched the football. This year, under the new 3-2-5-e rule, time starts when the kicker touches the ball.

This sounds minor, but it opens the door for a pretty significant loophole, as shown here.

The linked blogger explains:

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema exploits the new 3-2-5-e rule, designed to shorten games. After scoring a touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half against Penn State, the Badgers successfully run out the clock and keep the Penn State offense off the field by twice being offsides on the kickoff. As for shortening the game, this clip is 6:06 long (worth every second, in our opinion), meaning the final 23 seconds took much longer to run under 3-2-5-e than it would have under the old rules. And a good job by analyst Paul Maguire for picking up on what Bielema was up to. Because the rules can’t be changed in the middle of the season, we can only hope other coaches do the same to hasten the repeal of 3-2-5-e in the offseason.

It’s definitely a bit of a cheesy move, but well within the rules — and, of course, we can’t help but like just about anything that makes Paterno as mad as he clearly is at the end of this clip. Football Heathen? Holla back in commentland.

Update: We brought this up on a listserv we’re on, and another question cropped up: Why didn’t PSU just decline the penalty once it was clear what the Badgers were up to? Sure, their field position would suck, but having the ball is better than NOT having the ball. Is the answer that offsides is a “dead ball foul” and cannot be declined?

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