What happened on Georgia Tech’s foiled fake punt

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Kelton Dawson #91, Lawrence Austin #20 and Corey Griffin #14 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets tackle Daniel Helm #80 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Credit: Grant Halverson

Credit: Grant Halverson

Georgia Tech pulled the upset of Virginia Tech last Saturday with the help of a fake punt, a successful run for a first down by KeShun Freeman. The Yellow Jackets were without such favor against Duke, failing on a last-ditch fake down 16 points in the fourth quarter.

With the line of scrimmage at the Tech 32-yard line, punter Pressley Harvin took the snap and lobbed a pass to wide receiver Jalen Camp, lined up at the gunner position. Camp was shoved out of bounds by Duke’s Chris Taylor and, while Harvin’s pass landed about 10 yards past Camp, a flag was thrown. It was a preliminary indication that Duke would be penalized for pass interference for a first down for Tech to keep its rally alive.

However, the flag was waved off. By rule, defensive pass interference cannot be called when, according to the NCAA rulebook, a team in a kicking formation “simulates a scrimmage kick by throwing the ball high and deep, and contact by a Team B player occurs.”

Coach Paul Johnson said the team had practiced the play that week “and we were supposed to throw the ball at 15 yards and we sail it down the field 40 yards and you can’t throw it like a punt and get a penalty. But if you throw it like a back-shoulder throw, then you would get a holding penalty. But we didn’t do it right, so (the referee’s) explanation was there was no pass interference.”

Duke took over at the Tech 32-yard line, from where quarterback Daniel Jones scored on a keeper on the first play to extend the lead to 43-20, which proved the final score.

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