What's Buzzing:

Dr. Saturday

Duke’s Jela Duncan has helmet ripped off on the way to the end zone… and the play is blown dead

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

The helmet rule, which requires a player to miss a play if he losses his helmet, has been a big source of debate this season because coaches have contended that defensive players are intentionally trying to rip off helmets for an advantage.

What started out as a safety precaution by the NCAA has actually backfired and created some pretty scary moments, especially today during the Duke-Wake Forest game and the N.C. State-Miami game.

[Related: WVU's Geno Smith the most exciting thing in college football]

Duke running back Jela Duncan was heading for a possible touchdown when linebacker Justin Jackson grabbed his facemask and ripped the helmet off Duncan's head. Duncan kept running, but the play was called down and Jackson was given a personal foul penalty.

This particular play constitutes a clear defensive advantage. Duncan had a path to the end zone with blockers in front, but because his helmet was ripped off by a defender - a beaten defender - the play was called back and a penalty was assessed. Duke ultimately scored on the drive, but if it hadn't, Duncan's helmet would have made the difference in the 34-27 game.

Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett, who caught the game-winning pass later in the game, had his helmet ripped off by linebacker Rickey Dowdy during a tackle. Despite Dorsett's pleas, there was no penalty on that play.

While these are two extreme examples of helmets seemingly being taken off on purpose, it's happening far more than usual and the rule should be reexamined before someone ends up injured.

- - -
"Like" Dr. Saturday on Facebook for football conversations and stuff you won't see on the blog. And follow Dr. Saturday at its new home on Twitter: @YahooDrSaturday

MLB coverage on Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
NFL referees overwhelmingly approve new contract
New England hoops prep power under NCAA investigation
Rasheed Wallace returning to NBA
Y! News: Loaded gun gets through TSA

View Comments (524)
  • Bilic backs Noble for spot in England's Euro squad

    Bilic backs Noble for spot in England's Euro squad

    West Ham skipper Mark Noble's performances this season should earn him a spot in England's squad for the European Championship in France, manager Slaven Bilic has said. The 28-year-old midfielder has never won a senior cap for his country, but is … More »

    Reuters - 29 minutes ago
  • Leicester's Jamie Vardy wins English player of year award

    Leicester's Jamie Vardy wins English player of year award

    Leicester forward Jamie Vardy has won England's Footballer of the Year award on the day his team could clinch an unlikely Premier League title. The Football Writers' Association said Leicester players swept the top three places and seven in total … More »

    AP - Sports - 38 minutes ago
  • Leicester's Vardy named football writers' player of the year

    Leicester's Vardy named football writers' player of the year

    Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has been voted Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association (FWA). The 29-year-old has scored 22 league goals to help fire his team from 5,000-1 outsiders to odds-on favourites to win the Premier … More »

    Reuters - 59 minutes ago
  • Undrafted FCS players get shot at NFL

    Undrafted FCS players get shot at NFL

    (STATS) - If the start of the NFL draft is like Christmas morning to many NFL teams, then the post-holiday bargain shopping starts instantly after its conclusion. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 12 minutes ago
  • SNB could seek to prevent banks hoarding cash if franc soars - Roubini group

    SNB could seek to prevent banks hoarding cash if franc soars - Roubini group

    The Swiss National Bank might seek authority to stop commercial banks converting reserves into cash if its current policy arsenal failed to prevent a major appreciation of the franc, economist Nouriel Roubini's research group said. A report … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 36 minutes ago