While there was much confusion on the field — and blame to go around — the bottom line is this: Wisconsin should have gotten another play and the new rule regarding snapping the ball with two seconds or less does apply.
Here was the situation:
Wisconsin trailed Arizona State 32-30 but had driven 70 yards on six straight completions by Badgers quarterback Joel Stave in about a minute and a half to put themselves in a position to attempt a game-winning field goal.
On the next play, a first-and-10 from the Arizona State 13-yard line with 18 seconds left, Stave received the snap, quickly ran to the middle of the field and even quicker than that, dropped to a knee and put the ball on the ground.
Now, cue up the screeching sound of a train putting on its brakes.
After Stave put the ball on the ground, a few Sun Devils jumped on the ball. The clock continued to tick down and there was no sense of urgency on anybody’s part — Wisconsin’s to line up and snap the ball, Arizona State’s to get off the ball and even the officials to get the ball set up so it could get snapped.
In the end, here’s what I think should have happened:
Since the officials ruled Stave was down, they should have recognized that Arizona State had jumped on the dead ball and was keeping the umpire from getting everybody in position for the next play. At this point, it would have been appropriate to stop the clock, since Arizona State was causing this delay. Wisconsin should have been given the chance to attempt the game-winning field goal.
I hate to see any game end in such a controversial manner.
Like I said earlier, there was plenty of blame to go around.
But in the end, Arizona State bedeviled Wisconsin — and the officials.