Clemson scores TD after SC State kickoff returner flips ball to referee without taking a knee

Ahmaad Harris’ brain cramp directly led to a Clemson touchdown.

With his team already trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, The South Carolina State wide receiver caught Clemson’s kickoff in the end zone. Apparently thinking that it was automatically a touchback, or that he signaled to the officials that he wasn’t going to return the ball, Harris flipped the ball to the referee after he caught it without taking a knee.


To the Clemson kickoff team’s credit, they kept sprinting down the field and recovered the ball in the end zone as the Tigers took a 21-0 lead. Harris could have gotten away with the blunder had Clemson’s kick team just assumed the touchback like he initially did.

At least Harris can take solace in the fact that his blunder isn’t going to cost the team the game. The FCS school — paid by Clemson to visit Tiger Stadium — was a heavy underdog and trailed 31-0 by the end of the first quarter. The game ended 59-0 and was so much of a blowout that both teams agreed to play 12-minute quarters in the second half, shortening the game by a total of six minutes.

It’s the second time in as many weeks that Clemson’s special teams have been involved in a bonkers play. During the Tigers’ Week 2 win over Troy, Clemson punt returner Ray-Ray McCloud dropped the ball before he got into the end zone. The ball rolled into the end zone for a Troy touchback instead of a Clemson touchdown.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!