December 06, 2011
With his team down 21-14 in the fourth quarter following a UNI touchdown, Shelton received the ensuing kickoff. But instead of kneeling in the end zone for a routine touchback, he decided to walk around in the end zone while the UNI kickoff team descended upon him. When the horde reached the end zone, one of the players hit Sheldon, popping the ball loose. Sheldon raised his arms and started jawing with the official while UNI's Phil Wright jumped on the ball, giving the Panthers a touchdown and a 28-14 lead.
Apparently Shelton thought merely being in the end zone meant kick returner immunity. Someone needs to study their rule book.
"For the life of me, I don't get it," said Wofford head coach Mike Ayers. "Evidently, he didn't understand that you have to take a knee. He's returned a lot of kicks for us and has taken a knee several times. I don't know. In the heat of the moment, things go awry."
This wasn't Shelton's first special teams gaffe. On the previous UNI possession, Wofford stopped the Panthers on third-and-goal from the 3, forcing a field goal. But Shelton was flagged for roughing the kicker, which gave the Panthers an automatic first down at the Wofford 2-yard line. UNI ultimately scored a touchdown for the 21-14 lead.
It couldn't have been a worse pair of series for one player and it is something that will probably haunt Shelton for the rest of his life.
Luckily — or unluckily, depending on how you look at it — Shelton returns for his senior season next year and will have a chance to atone for his untimely mistake.
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