A crazy finish in a D-III game over the weekend provides a reminder to coaches everywhere to ensure that your players stay inside of the sideline box and don't rush the field prior to the final buzzer sounding. The clip above includes the entire game, so skip to the 2:24:20 mark to see the last few moments of the game.
Saturday, Concordia-Moorehead (MN) was beating Bethel (MN) 14-7, and with Bethel driving down the field to tie the game, their quarterback drops back to pass, and gets hit from behind. The ball flutters to the turf and a Concordia defensive lineman scoops the ball up and runs up his sideline to score (note: if he falls on it they win; but it's hard to blame the big guy for wanting to scoop and score...another coaching point).
The issue was that during the return, the defensive lineman had to dodge some of his own players that had stormed the field thinking that the fumble was instead an incomplete pass. No whistle had been blown to call the play dead. As a result, a flag was thrown during the return, giving Bethel one last shot at the end zone from inside of the ten yard line with no time remaining.
Bethel goes on to throw a back shoulder fade to get within one point, and then decides to go for two for the win...and ends up getting it 15-14. The loss is the first for Concordia-Moorehead, who had won their previous four games all by double digit margins.
As Deadspin points out, credit the Bethel coaching staff for taking advantage of the shock and confusion after the big swing in momentum and deciding to go for two and the win.
In the excitement of the game sometimes your players forget their surroundings and just react. This is a great example of the importance of keeping players corralled on the sideline until the final buzzer sounds.