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5 Football Terms For People Who Don’t Get “Sports Ball”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

So football season is now officially upon us, especially here in Happy Valley. Instead of lazy Saturdays chilling, you’re probably heading over to Beaver Stadium, eating chicken baskets and take cute insta photos with your friends. Here are a few terms that might be helpful for your next football game so you’re not left saying “wait what just happened?”


This is where the team scores. The whole objective is for them to get into the endzone of their opponent. The endzones switch every quarter. If a team gets into the endzone, they get six points.


Football is organized by quarters. Each quarter is 15 minutes of play-time but usually a quarter lasts 30-45 minutes because of time outs and tv breaks.

Flag on the play

If you see a yellow cloth thrown on the field by the referees, the people in black and white stripes, it means someone on one of the teams did something wrong. There are lots of different things they could throw the flag for; being too rough, starting the play too early, not starting the play in time etc.

Under Review

This means the refs aren’t sure if a play followed the rules. Reviews can be quick or they can take a few minutes. Both teams coaches can ask the ref to review a play. After reviewing the play, the refs can decide to redo the play or keep going with the game.


A down means going 10 feet. In football, you have four tries to move 10 feet before you have to give the ball to the other team. If the scoreboard says 4th & 6, this means the attempt and how many feet they have left to reach 10. In this case, the team would be on their fourth try and they needed six feet to get the 10 feet. First downs are a good thing in football.

Happy football season collegiettes! Hope these tips keep you from being confused at games.

Hannah Nelson is a senior at Penn State University, double majoring in Print/Digital Journalism and History. She enjoys Marvel movies, anything Harry Potter, books, quoting Vines and watching Tik Toks. In her free time, she is probably watching Try Guys videos on YouTube. She is passionate about mental health, women's rights and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Allie Bausinger is a Penn State University graduate who majored in Print/Digital Journalism with a minor in English. She is from "outside Philadelphia," which in her case is Yardley, Pennsylvania. Allie is looking for full-time employment in writing, editing, fact-checking, podcasting, and other areas of the journalism and writing fields.