Referee Has Jurisdiction of Each Section. Necessary Gain in Three Downs.
(a) If, in three consecutive downs (unless the ball crosses the goal line), a team has not advanced the ball 5 yards, it shall go to the opponents on the spot of the fourth down.
NOTE - "Consecutive" means without going out of possession of the side holding it, except that - (1) having advanced the ball beyond the point necessary for the first down or the ball having actually passed into possession of the other side and then been fumbled and lost by them before having been declared dead by the referee; or, (2) by having kicked the ball they have given their opponents fair and equal chance of gaining possession of it. No kick, however, provided it is not stopped by an opponent, is regarded as giving the opponents fair and equal chance of possession unless the ball goes beyond the line of scrimmage.
(b) When a distance penalty is given, the ensuing down shall be counted, as provided for under Penalties - F.