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Rutgers’ invisible kick returner really goofed up here

This week in Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights let Maryland recover a Maryland kickoff. It was not an onside kick or a fumble.

Rutgers is a special football team, and on Saturday at Maryland, the Scarlet Knights did something special. On the ensuing kickoff after giving up a 65-yard touchdown, the Scarlet Knights allowed the Terps to recover their own kickoff without being touched. And it wasn’t even an onside kick. It was just a short kickoff that Rutgers didn’t field:

That goes into the scorebook like this:

Petrino, Joseph kickoff 42 yards to the RU23, on-side kick, recovered by UMD Campbell, C. on RU23.

I’ve tried to come up with one, but there’s no reasonable explanation for a football team above Pop Warner to allow this to happen. Did the Scarlet Knights think Maryland was actually punting, and thus couldn’t recover the ball without Rutgers touching it first? Did Rutgers somehow think the sport’s new touchback rule was in effect here?

It doesn’t add up. It really does look like Rutgers just put an invisible kick returner on the field, and that invisible kick returner forgot to catch the ball. Maryland’s Chance Campbell caught it on a bounce before a single Scarlet Knight approached the ball.

The Terps converted the play into a field goal. In a just world, Rutgers would’ve gotten negative points for allowing it to happen in the first place.