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Texas A&M lost to Clemson, thanks in part to football’s dumbest rule

Clemson forced a fumble into the end zone, forcing a touchback while A&M was driving late in the game.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Texas A&M Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M stayed close with Clemson all Saturday evening, but a fumble into the end zone killed their chances at an upset.

Driving with just over two minutes to go, Kellen Mond completed a pass to Quartney Davis, who was making his way towards the end zone. In pursuit, Clemson’s K’Von Wallace punched the football out of Davis’ grasp, over the pylon, and out of the end zone.

The call on the field was a touchback, reviewed, and upheld.

Texas A&M later forced Clemson to punt, which ended up being a 22-yard dud. The Aggies started the drive at Clemson’s 49-yard line, and after just three plays, Mond found Kendrick Rogers for a touchdown to make it 28-26.

They would miss the two-point conversion, and were unsuccessful in their onside kick attempt.

The touchdown afterward ended up not meaning anything, in part because of the worst rule in the game.

This isn’t an uncommon thing, and happens semi-regularly in both college and pro football. The NCAA rule reads as such on fumbles:

c. Behind or Beyond Goal Line. When a fumble or backward pass goes out of bounds behind or beyond a goal line, it is a safety or touchback

You might be asking, “OK, so how do we fix it?”

There are a variety of solutions, many of which are outlined here by the Ringer’s Rodger Sherman. In short, some of the more simple solutions could be:

  • The team gets the ball back at the spot of the fumble
  • The opposing team would get the ball at that spot
  • The ball is moved back to the 20, but for the fumbling team

Of course, there are pros and cons to these options, and there even more solutions that might even make the game more fun. Either way, the game would gain from a change here. It doesn’t make sense as it stands.

It’s too bad for Kellen Mond, who had been making plays all night.

Sure the Aggies were able to piece together scores in the near-upset, but these were some nice touchdowns along the way. Mond was able to find Kendricks Rogers here to make it a 21-13 game.

Had the football been in any other place, that touchdown doesn’t happen.

After Clemson answered to make it 28-13, Mond came back with another incredible pass, this one that came with a winding run, throw as he was falling, and great catch by Quartney Davis:

Mond finished the game 23-of-40 passing with 430 yards and three touchdowns, as well as 33 yards on the ground.

His performance will be the biggest story coming out of this game. But the Aggies will be thinking about what could have been, had the game not had one of its worst rules in place.