Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Wait, What?

This insane Memphis punt return touchdown vs. Mississippi State is apparently a real thing that happened

September 18, 2021

Special teams. Special teams. Special teams.

That repititve mantra may very well be something Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach preaches to his players. In fact, based off of how they covered this punt late in the fourth quarter against Memphis, it probably is.

But the one thing the Bulldogs' punt coverage team forgot to do was completely down the ball, which is an important thing to do when downing a punt, some would say. Just simply touching it does not make the ball dead, and until it's completely possessed the return team has the opportunity to scoop it up and start running. That's exactly what Memphis' Calvin Austin did on Saturday night, catching Mississippi State sleeping and entering from stage right to score the most stunning touchdown of the college football season so far.

It needs to be seen to be believed:

Yes, that's a very real thing that happened, folks. Ninety-four yards to the house, all but sealing the game. MSU made a late run, but still ultimately lost 31-29. Rabid Bulldogs fans, as you can imagine, are making more noise on social media than they make with their cowbells during a sellout in Starkville.

Unfortunately for them, cries of "hose job" are incorrect, as this play was compeltely legal. Some are arguing that the last player to touch the ball on Mississippi State had his knee on the ground when he touched it, but that doesn't matter since he was not actually possessing the ball.

All that said, if you watch the video again, the official was clearly coming in to blow it dead, but never blew the whistle and allowed the play to continue to happen. Incompetent officiating is nothing new in the NCAA, but by the letter of the law it's still a touchdown. A brutal loss for Mississippi State, no doubt, but lesson learned. Never again will you see a Miss. State player not completely possess the ball with a death grip unknown to mankind.

UPDATE: Welp, looks like Mississippi State fans do have a case against the referees. Here was a statement from the official Twitter account of SEC Officiating:

If you can't see the full tweet, the statement also added that Memphis had two players on the field wearing the same jersey number - No. 4. YIKES. A true hose job.