November 14, 2004

A few weeks back, Penn State registered two safeties for its only points in a 6-4 loss to Iowa. Yesterday, after trailing UTEP 21-17 in the fourth quarter, Rice scored two safeties to tie the game before losing in double overtime. You could go an awful long time without seeing two safeties in a game - only twice in Rice's history had they scorred as many as two safeties in a season - and now you've seen it twice in 2004.

Safeties are rare. In the NFL, the Rams once scored three safeties in a game against the Giants, while two safeties have been scored by the same team in one game 13 times since 1927, most recently in 1999. According to the NCAA record book, Alabama State scored three safeties against Albany State in 1988. This Ask College Football News column claims Arizona State did it against Nebraska in 1996, and also lists two other games in which a team finished with four points. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which is accurate. The NCAA record book, which is from 2002, says the last two-safety game was in 1998 when Duquesne did it to St. Francis; it also happened in the 2003 BYU-Boise State game, which is what prompted the question to Ask CFN.

I wanted to blog about the history of the safety in football, but if the definitive article has been written, I couldn't find it. Alas. This article on how the rules of football first evolved in the 1880s is pretty interesting, though.

UPDATE: It's National Safety Weekend, as for only the second time in NFL history, an overtime game was ended by a defensive two-pointer, with the Bears topping the Titans thanks to a sack in the end zone. The previous time this happened was 1989.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 14, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

Charles, on Owlzone, I read about the end of the game (Bailey fumbling on the 2 yd line). There was also reference to him scoring the play before but it being called back due to a UTEP penalty???
Can you provide some explanation?

Posted by: Blake on November 14, 2004 10:21 AM

Considering how American football evolved from rugby, it's interesting to see how a rugby tackle "in-goal" (the equivalent of a safety) does not score any points, but instead requires the team that was tackled to kick off from between the goal posts. Now that I think about it, I can see how the free kick from the 20 yard line after a safety came about in football.

Posted by: William Hughes on November 14, 2004 11:49 AM

Blake - I'm afraid I don't know anything more than what's written in the Chron story. Sorry!

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 14, 2004 12:11 PM

Uh, uh... So, when's pitchers and catchers again?

Posted by: Chris Quinones on November 15, 2004 12:21 AM