Saturday, January 22

How did Oklahoma’s Caleb Williams make the double trade against Kansas? Forward Transfer Rule Explained

For the second time in three weeks, Oklahoma rookie Caleb Williams helped his team to victory with an incredible play on fourth down.

The first was a 66-yard touchdown rumble against Texas in fourth and inches, the spark needed in a 55-48 comeback at the Red River Showdown. The second was considerably less explosive, but perhaps just as important. The third-ranked Sooners, who entered the game as favorites by 38.5 points, held Kansas 35-23 at bay for that.

Williams’ key play came late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Kansas, with the Sooners facing fourth and 1 on their own 46 and leading the Jayhawks 28-23. A Kansas save would have returned the ball to the Jayhawks with about 3:09 left. In fact, the defense stopped running back Kennedy Brooks for a 2-yard loss … if it weren’t for Williams’ heads-up.

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For those who missed it … Williams managed to snatch the ball from Brooks behind the scrimmage line, fight for the first yard, and grab a couple of extra yards for good measure. The play allowed Oklahoma to continue its advance, which ultimately ended on a 4-yard touchdown by Brooks with 42 seconds remaining. The Jayhawks didn’t have enough time to mount a comeback.

The question now is: How did Williams get a double trade? Why was an illegal forward transfer not considered?

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The NCAA has two pertinent rules that, reviewed together, reveal that Oklahoma’s game is legal. They are Section 13, Article 1.a – “Handling the ball” – and Section 3, Article 8.a – “Reviewable plays”.

  • Section 3, article 8.a: “Player making a forward pass or forward pass when the player’s entire body and the ball are or have been beyond the neutral zone or after a change of possession (Rule 12-3-2-cy – d) “.
  • Section 13, article 1.a: “Giving the ball is transferring possession of a player from one teammate to another without shooting, losing the ball or kicking it.”

The “no shot” qualifier in the last rule is the key to Oklahoma’s game. Because it does not specify that there can only be one act of delivering the ball on a given play, it is possible for there to be multiple transfers on a play, as opposed to a forward or lateral pass, as long as the play does not cross the line of scrimmage. . That’s where the above rule comes into question.

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Because Brooks’s entire body did not cross the line of scrimmage even though it could be argued that the ball did, it was still legal for Oklahoma to deliver the ball again as long as it took place behind the line of scrimmage.

You will recall, then, that Williams took the ball from Brooks two yards behind the scrimmage line before fighting for yards on the first down. The play, then, is completely legal in the NCAA regulations.

And it allowed Oklahoma to go undefeated for another week.

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