Crossing the Line of Scrimmage Without a Clean Exchange


Active member
This happened against us last year and I want to understand it correctly for the coming season. Our opponent had a 4th and long from their own 10yd line. They decided to punt but the punter bobbled the snap, when he regained control he just took off running without a clean exchange (Sixman). The refs call an illegal pay, assessed a 5 yard penalty, and allowed our opponent replay 4th down, where they punted successfully the 2nd time around.

I argued, and It is my understanding, that such a play should have resulted in a 5 yard penalty and loss of down, giving our team a 1st down from my opponents 5 yd line. I'm I wrong?


Active member
I saw a game last year where in on an XP this happened. The kicking team ran the ball in without an exchange. The officials ruled the penalty could be accepted, allowing the team to retry the point after or decline the penalty and the point stays.
It was Fort Worth TASO. My understanding is if accepted and loss of down the play is over with and no points awarded, but I am now an official….

Legacy Zebra

Active member
You are correct. Illegal advancement carries a loss of down. Any penalty that includes loss of down means the try is not replayed. This would also include fouls like illegal forward pass, illegal batting, or illegal touching.