Despite replay, Toledo still gets robbed

In officiating, there are some things you just know.

Then, of course, there are some things you aren’t sure of. That’s when replay normally saves the day. Except when it doesn’t, which happens about as often earthquakes hit the New York area.

Well, a football “earthquake’’ hit Syracuse, N.Y., on Saturday when a replay official made an incorrect call on an extra point ruling in Syracuse’s 33-30 overtime win over Toledo.

Incredulous. That’s about the only thing I could think of after seeing it.

There was 2:07 left in the game when Syracuse scored to take a 29-27 lead. The extra point was clearly missed. After a review, the replay official confirmed that the extra point was good, making it 30-27. Toledo came back to “tie’’ the game with a 20-yard field goal on the last play of regulation to force overtime. Obviously, if the extra point call had been corrected, Toledo would have won the game. Instead, the Rockets lost in overtime.

I can see the side judge maybe missing the call, but with the high-definition technology that major conferences have now, I can’t see how the replay official could have let this happen. If it were me, I would strongly consider discipline for the replay official because I don’t think this involves judgment.

Terry McAulay, The Big East coordinator of football officiating, released this statement Saturday night.

"After studying the videos of the Syracuse extra point attempt at 2:07 of the fourth quarter, we have concluded that the ruling on the field that the kick passed between the uprights was incorrect, and that the replay official made an error in failing to reverse that ruling. In reviewing the video, we have determined that the angle from behind the kicking team shows conclusively that the ball passes outside the right upright.

"Our review of the process determined that the replay official mistakenly focused his attention on the sideline angle, which proved to be distorted. We are confident that our officiating staff will learn from this situation in order to prevent a reoccurrence."

Reviewing the sideline angle? If that’s correct, that adds even more fuel to the fire. Why would anyone look at a sideline view to determine whether a ball passed outside or inside an upright?

I applaud The Big East for addressing the issue quickly. But that sure as heck isn’t going to make people in Toledo feel any better.

We’re only in Week 4, but this might go down as the biggest incorrect call of the year. A tip of the cap to tweeter Alex from Buffalo, who alerted me to the play.

Let’s take a look at some of the other interesting calls from Saturday.

Missouri at Oklahoma

THE SITUATION: Oklahoma had the ball, first-and-10 at the Missouri 24-yard line with 4:07 left in the first quarter. Missouri led 14-3.

THE PLAY: Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones completed a 24-yard pass to Ryan Broyles for a touchdown. The play was reviewed to see if Broyles maintained possession of the ball while falling out of bounds. The call stood and the Sooners were awarded a touchdown.

MY TAKE: Good decision by the replay official to stay with the ruling of a touchdown. The ball comes loose in the process of going to the ground, but Broyles looks to regain possession with a foot still down in bounds. The ball does move when he hits the ground, but it appears to me that he never loses possession. We need to keep in mind that the ball will move when you go to the ground, but the rule is based on losing possession, not the ball merely moving. This is also one where you must focus on that the ruling on the field was a touchdown. The referee announced the ruling stands, which means there was not enough visual evidence to confirm the ruling of a catch or to reverse it to an incomplete pass.

Kansas State at Miami

THE SITUATION: Miami had the ball, fourth-and-goal from the Kansas State 1-yard line with 49 seconds left in the game. Kansas State led 28-24.

THE PLAY: Miami quarterback Jacory Harris rolled out to his left and dove for the goal line. He stretched the ball over the goal line and though it appeared his knee hit the ground before he reached the end zone, it was initially ruled a touchdown. After a review, the play was reversed and the ball was ruled down at the 1-yard line with Kansas State taking over.

MY TAKE: So what would football be without replay? So many were against it when it was first put in. But in this game, Miami would have beaten Kansas State and would not have deserved the victory. It’s not often that the game comes down to one play. But it did here. I can see how the official ruled a touchdown. But in slow motion, it was clear to see that Harris’ knee was down and, while you couldn’t see the ball, you could see the plane of the goal line and determine that the ball had not penetrated it. This, to me, is what replay is all about. It’s correcting the game-changing call. It’s not about five-yard incomplete passes or spots off by a yard or two. It’s about correcting those calls that have a competitive impact in the game.

Vanderbilt at South Carolina

THE SITUATION: Vanderbilt had the ball, third-and-4 at the South Carolina 44-yard line with 4:09 left in the second quarter. South Carolina led 7-3.

THE PLAY: Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith pass intended for Jonathan Krause was intercepted by Stephon Gilmore at the South Carolina 23-yard line. It appeared that Krause and Gilmore caught the ball simultaneously, but the official ruled it to be an interception. After a coach’s challenge, the play stood as called.

MY TAKE: Not sure I have enough information here, but it appeared to be a simultaneous catch and, by rule, the ball would be awarded to the offensive player. The ruling on the field was an interception. My thinking is that the officials must not have ruled it to be a simultaneous catch and they ruled just a straight interception. The play was challenged by Vanderbilt, but the ruling of a simultaneous catch is not reviewable (as opposed to whether the pass is complete or incomplete). The more I look at this play; however, the more I do think it’s a classic simultaneous catch and should have gone to the offense. Of course, I’m a great official when I get to look at it five times, four of which are in slow motion.

Oklahoma State at Texas A&M

THE SITUATION: Oklahoma State had the ball, second-and-8 from the Texas A&M 11-yard line with 7:34 left in the third quarter. Texas A&M led 20-10.

THE PLAY: Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden attempted an 11-yard pass to Justin Blackmon in the end zone. It appeared that Blackmon caught the ball before going out of bounds and losing the ball, but it initially was ruled incomplete. After a review, the play was reversed to give Oklahoma State a touchdown.

MY TAKE: This was a tight play and I had my doubts as to whether or not this should have been overturned. It was ruled incomplete and the question really came down to whether Blackmon had control of the ball with his foot down. The fact that the ball came out when Blackmon hit the ground was irrelevant because he completed the catch on his feet and then was shoved down. He was not going to the ground on his own. Replay still involves judgment and the replay official felt that Blackmon demonstrated enough control initially that he could rule the play a touchdown. I think I might have stayed with the initial ruling since I didn’t feel there was enough visual evidence to overturn the initial ruling of an incomplete pass. But that’s my judgment vs. someone else’s judgment.

Florida State at Clemson

THE SITUATION: Clemson had the ball second-and-6 from the Clemson 37-yard line with 13:40 left in the third quarter. Clemson led 21-10.

THE PLAY: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd rolled out and ball came out of his hand as he attempted a pass. The pass was intercepted by Florida State’s Bjoern Werner at the Clemson 25-yard line and returned for a touchdown. The play was reviewed to see if Boyd’s knee hit the ground before the ball popped loose from Boyd’s grasp, but the play stood as called and FSU was awarded a touchdown.

MY TAKE: Flip a coin. There are so many plays like this on a college football Saturday that seemingly could go either way. It just demonstrates how difficult it is to officiate football period — on any level. I’m glad the replay official stayed with the initial ruling on the field that the knee wasn’t down because there just wasn’t enough to prove that it was. Had the referee ruled that the knee was down, I would like to think that the replay official would have stayed with that call, also. By that, I mean there wasn’t enough to overturn the call either way.

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