ASU coach Todd Graham explains how he ensures his players don't drop the ball before the goal line

Posted at 2:42 PM, Sep 19, 2016

For some strange, inexplicable reason, an inordinate number of college football players have recently had one heck of a time holding on to the football as they cross the goal line to score what would a touchdown.

Three times already this season, players have dropped the ball before crossing the goal line, costing their teams a sure six points. It happened Saturday night to Cal, which just so happens to be the Arizona State Sun Devils' opponent this coming weekend. (Fortunately for the Golden Bears, it didn't cost them the game.)

ASU coach Todd Graham has a simple way to ensure these mental lapses don't happen to his team. He instructs his players to give the ball to a referee -- not just after touchdowns, but after every offensive play. 

It's something he's always taught his team as a head coach, including his stints at Rice, Tulsa and Pitt.

"Our guys hand the ball to the official. They always have," Graham said Monday. "That's just the way we do it, and there's a reason for it."

Actually, there are two good reasons for Graham to have the hand-off system in place: to ensure what happened to Cal, Clemson and others doesn't happen to ASU, and to allow the offense to stay in its no-huddle, up-tempo rhythm.

"That's something that we started doing a while ago, obviously because of the pace -- we want to keep the pace going -- but also just to make sure you don't have something like that happen," Graham said. 

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a time that one of our guys have scored in the last 4-5 years that they haven't handed the ball to the official."

Graham didn't offer any explanation as to why these boneheaded plays have become more rampant; he just knows it's something that won't happen to his Sun Devils.

"It's usually rare, but there's been a lot of that lately," he said. "It's too hard to score a touchdown; it's just easier to hand that ball to the official. 

"We call it the K.C. Rule. I don't know why we call it the K.C. Rule but we've always done that: We hand the ball to the official -- on every play, not just on a scoring play."