Crazy endings are why we love college football. They seem to happen just about every week and Saturday was no exception. Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan at home on the last play of the game in a "you have to see it to believe it" kind of play. CMU quarterback Cooper Rush threw a Hail Mary that was caught by receiver Jesse Kroll. While being tackled, Kroll lateraled to teammate Corey Willis who managed to take it to the end zone for the improbable win.
So what's the problem? The play should never have happened.
Oklahoma State was assessed an intentional grounding penalty on the play before as quarterback Mason Rudolph threw the pall away in an attempt to let the clock expire. It worked, the final seconds ticked off the clock. Game over, right? It should have been, but the referees incorrectly awarded CMU an untimed-play because of the penalty and the rest is history.
Could the result be overturned? Well, it's not going to be.
The officiating crew, from the Mid-American Conference, acknowledged the mistake after the game, but the MAC quickly released a statement saying our bad, but it's going to stand.
Here's the statement:
"The Mid-American Conference officiating crew from Saturday afternoon’s Central Michigan at Oklahoma State contest made an error on the final play of regulation. The crew made a misapplication of the rule and should not have extended the contest with one final play. Despite the error, this will not change the outcome of the contest.” Bill Carollo, Coordinator of Football Officials, Collegiate Officiating Consortium
Rule 3, Section 2, Article 3.a.1
Periods, Time Factors & Substitutions
Exception: The period is not extended if the foul is by the team in possession and the statement of the penalty includes loss of down.
According to Rogers Redding, Secretary-Rules Editor, NCAA Football Rules Committee
“The NCAA playing rules do not allow extension of the period when the penalty includes loss of down, under Rule 3-2-3. Intentional grounding of a forward pass during a down in which time in the quarter expires is such a play, because loss of down is part of the penalty. Thus the quarter should not have been extended.”
The final two plays in regulation:
With 0:04 left in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma State held possession on a 4th and 13 play from the Central Michigan 41-yard line. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph’s pass downfield was incomplete. An intentional grounding penalty was assessed and the ball was moved to the Central Michigan 49-yard line and Central Michigan was given possession with no time left in regulation. On the game’s final play, Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rushcompleted a pass to Jesse Kroll for 42 yards, who then lateralled to Corey Willis, for the 9 yards and a touchdown for a 30-27 final.
“As in all games involving the Mid-American Conference, every play within every game is thoroughly reviewed and graded on its accuracy and has impact on the evaluation for every official,” said Bill Carollo.
For you conspiracy theorists out there, here's a summary: A mistake by MAC officials resulted in a win for a MAC school and the MAC won't overturn the result.
To be fair, in the glorious NCAA history of botched calls, the results are never overturned. Remember Miami's lateral play against Duke last year?
But perhaps an exception should be made in this case considering the game should literally have ended before that final play.
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