It has taken me four days to process what happened and come to a final resolution on how I feel.
- Wisconsin made a really poor choice by placing the ball on the ground instead of handing it to the official responsible for doing that. I don’t care if your intentions were to spot the ball “quicker and cleaner,” it allowed for more room for error by the officials. Furthermore, it caused confusion for the defense who jumped on the ball. I would have done the same thing as a defensive player.
- The officials screwed up by not getting things moving more quickly. However, it’s my opinion that the umpire wasn’t sure if it was a downed ball (just like every other person in the stadium) because of his view. Stave was behind a lineman when he took the knee and the umpire most likely couldn’t see. This was exacerbated by the fact that Stave didn’t give the umpire the ball.
- While the officials were reprimanded for not displaying “appropriate urgency,” almost none of the Wisconsin players had any sort of a sense of urgency either. In a situation like that, every player has to get back to the line of scrimmage and get set as fast as humanly possible. Even when Stave finally recognizes the fact that the clock has almost expired and snaps the ball, the offense still isn’t set.
- And maybe, it’s just that what goes around, comes around.
…Let me tell you a little story from long, long ago. Sept. 18, 2010, to be exact.
We are in Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. On a third-and-3 play from the Wisconsin 18 in the third quarter, Arizona State QB Steven Threet sees T.J. Simpson open in the end zone. Wisconsin defensive back Niles Brinkley knows he’s beat. So before the ball arrives, he shoves Simpson out of the end zone.
The side judge, a Big Ten official, is standing there staring at the play. It is textbook pass interference. No judgment is required. There is zero ambiguity. And there is no flag.
…Wisconsin went on to win 20-19 when it blocked the Sun Devils’ game-tying PAT attempt.
Wisconsin won in 2010 by cheating. ASU won in 2013 primarily because of mistakes made by Wisconsin. I can feel good about that.
Here’s a great write up with pictures showing the weirdest 18 seconds of football I’ve ever been a part of: Film Study: What went wrong in the final seconds of Wisconsin-Arizona State