The ABCs of A-B-A

By Referee – May 1, 2018

Referee

The ABCs of A-B-A A rare and challenging play involves a double change of possession, known as an A-B-A play.

In PlayPic A, the team A runner fumbles and a team B player picks it up on the run (PlayPic B). The defender advances, only to be hit from behind, causing another fumble (PlayPic C). The play ends when a prone team A player recovers the loose ball (PlayPic D).

Because team A has the ball after a change of team possession, team A is awarded a new series (NFHS 5-1-3d; NCAA 5-1-1e-1). It does not matter what the down was when the ball was snapped. Because the next play will be first down for team A, the game clock stops at the end of an A-B-A play (NFHS 3-5-7b; NCAA 3-3-2e-

1). The game clock starts on the ready to start team A’s new series of downs (NFHS 3-4-2; NCAA 3-3-2e-1). In both codes, team A will have 40 seconds after the ready to snap the ball (NFHS 3-6-1; NCAA 3-2-4b ).