Arizona St. Gets a Gift from the Refs

Last night’s Pac-12/Big 10 game between the Arizona St. Sun Devils and the Wisconsin Badgers may have been decided on the field, but unfortunately not by the players, but rather by the officials. In one of the most bizarre finishes in years, the refs denied Wisconsin a last second field goal attempt from the 15 yard line that would have turned around what ended up a 32-30 Sun Devil’s victory.

Down by two points, Badger quarterback Joel Stave came close to pulling off a perfect two-minute drill, as the fourth quarter was rushing to its end. Getting the ball with 1:36 left in the game, he moved his team from the Wisconsin 17 to the Arizona St. 13, with 18 seconds remaining – seemingly plenty of time to attempt a game-winning field goal. But it was not to be.

With the ball on the right hash, Stave would run one more play to center the ball for the kick. He took the snap and ran back a bit, and to his left, then placed the ball on the ground as he quickly took a knee. His knee touching the ground for only a split second was the problem, as most players,

especially Sun Devils, apparently did not see that, and thought Stave had fumbled. Sun Devils linebacker Anthony Jones mobbed the ball, and there basically was no response from the referees, who did a lot of standing around and watching, as time expired. Here is the video:

The refs should have stepped in and set the ball for the next play. After Arizona St. mobbed the ball and time ran out, they should have reset the clock to what has been determined to have correctly been four seconds remaining after Stave took the knee. A new NCAA rule this season says that if there are three seconds remaining, the team with the ball has enough time to spike the ball to stop play and get another play off:

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“Teams will need a minimum of three seconds from the referee’s signal to “spike” the ball to allow for another

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play at the end of a half. Teams must still execute the spike, but they will have a reasonable opportunity for another play. If the clock shows one or two seconds, a team will only have enough time to run a play without first spiking the ball.”

It will be interesting to see what, if any, discipline the refs will face. We all know, however, that conference bigwigs will never, ever change the outcome of a game, or order a replay, due to an official’s mistake, unless of course [the late] Jerry Buss had a big bet riding on the outcome.

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