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The Punt Rules of a Football Game

If a punt doesn’t cross the line of scrimmage, either team may pick up the ball and run toward its own end zone.

A touchback occurs when a punt touches the end zone before the ball touches a player on either team, or when the punt returner catches the ball in the end zone and drops to one knee. The ball is then spotted on the receiving team’s 20-yard line.

Either team can down a punt after it hits the ground or after one of its players touches the ball past the line of scrimmage. To down the ball, a player must be in possession of the ball, stop his forward movement, and drop to one knee. Such action leads to an official blowing his whistle, signaling the end of action.

A partially blocked punt that crosses the line of scrimmage is treated like a typical punt.

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