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A college football team punted for a 1st down in the weirdest way possible

Don't get any ideas, Kirk Ferentz.

Here’s a play from a football game that happened over the weekend.

Let’s talk about this.

The scene above comes from a Division III game on Saturday, between the Belhaven Blazers and the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys, respectively of Jackson, Miss., and Abilene, Texas. The play resulted in a fourth-and-long conversion for Belhaven.

It was clearly a legal play. Belhaven’s quarterback started the play with a backward pass to a receiver on the edge. Apparently, the receiver then had an option to either throw the ball downfield, run it, or punt it away. It’s a nifty variation of the option.

The receiver clearly thought about throwing, but he was cornered, so he moved to punt the ball. He barely got it away, and the ball made contact with a Hardin-Simmons defender. The Blazers scooped it up for a first down, just like they’d recovered a garden-variety muffed punt. Everything here is within the rules, which don’t say anything about a runner with the ball not being allowed to punt.

From reporter Chris Hudgison:

Belhaven’s head coach is Hal Mumme, the former Kentucky and New Mexico State boss, godfather of the air raid, and an altogether fascinating football person. Spencer Hall interviewed him in 2012.