College Confidential

Big 12 coaches seek to curb premature TD celebrations

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen added a special drill to Sunday’s practice to stress proper TD protocol after seeing two premature scoring celebrations at Big 12 games on Saturday.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen added a special drill to Sunday’s practice to stress proper TD protocol after seeing two premature scoring celebrations at Big 12 games on Saturday. AP

After two incidents in Big 12 games where players dropped the football on their way into the end zone in their haste to celebrate touchdowns last weekend (one called, one missed by game officials), several league coaches said they will address the situation with players this week.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said his team will receive a group lecture during this week’s open date after kickoff returner Joe Mixon dropped the ball at the 1-yard line on his way to a touchdown in Saturday’s 45-24 loss to Ohio State. Mixon’s gaffe did not cost OU any points because the incident was missed by the game crew. But it was clear on TV replays.

In Texas’ 50-43 loss to California, the Golden Bears lost a touchdown when running back Vic Enwere dropped the ball at the 1-yard line at the end of an apparent 55-yard scoring run. Because there was no immediate recovery, Cal kept the ball at the Texas 1-yard line after the incident and ran out the clock.

After seeing both plays, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said he added a special drill to Sunday’s practice. Skill-position players were required to sprint into the end zone, protecting the ball with two hands, before handing it off to a graduate assistant dressed like a referee standing in the end zone.

“We’ve addressed it and practiced it. I don’t know what else I can do as a coach,” Holgorsen said. “It seems like it happens every week.”

But the issue has not been a problem at Kansas State, where veteran coach Bill Snyder, 76, has an established protocol for TD celebrations.

“Every situation is different,” Snyder said. “Our mode of operation is, if you score a touchdown, you drop the ball in the end zone and go celebrate with your teammates. There’s consequences if you don’t.”

TCU coach Gary Patterson said: “You’ve got to get in the end zone. If one of our guys does that, he just needs to keep running up the tunnel.” 

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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