Big 12 issues statement on fumble call in Iowa State-Texas game

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

Paul Rhoads spent a lot of time talking to officials on Thursday night
Paul Rhoads spent a lot of time talking to officials on Thursday night. (USATSI)

At the end of Thursday night's game between Texas and Iowa State there was a controversial call about a possible fumble at the goal line in the final minute. Texas running back Johnathan Gray was trying to score when he was stopped and ruled down by contact. However, Iowa State linebacker Jeremiah George was then seen with the ball in his hand running toward the other end zone.

Officials then reviewed the play and found nothing to overrule it, and on Friday the Big 12's supervisor of football officials, Walt Anderson, released a statement explaining why.

"The ruling made on the goal line play was that the runner was down by rule with the ball," said Anderson in the statement. "Because of that ruling, instant replay is allowed to review the play, which it did. Had the ruling on the field been forward progress, the play would not be reviewable because the goal line was not involved. The Replay Official looked at all five views available for this play: Line Feed, Goal Line cart, Press Box angle, Sky Cam, and Opposite End Zone camera. He correctly determined there was no indisputable video evidence to confirm that either the ruling on the field was correct, or that the ball was loose prior to the runner being down. By rule when there is not indisputable video evidence to confirm or change the call on the field, the ruling stands.

"On this play, the covering official ruled the runner was down and still had control of the ball. There is no question the runner ends up on the ground, and there is no question that eventually an Iowa State player ends up with the ball. However, after reviewing the video evidence it is impossible to tell with certainty when the runner loses control of the ball and at that point was he down or not.

"The conference would acknowledge in this unique situation if a mistake were made, but we do not have the video evidence to prove that one occurred."

Something tells me Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads disagrees with this notion.

Personally, I don't. Like just about everybody else who watched last night's game, I thought Gray did fumble the ball before he was down. Unfortunately the officials got the call wrong live, and after seeing the replay from multiple angles multiple times, I couldn't conclusively figure out when the ball came out, either. So I don't blame the officials for not overturning the call.

Anderson also addressed the play in which Texas wide receiver Mike Davis took what I thought was a cheap shot on Iowa State safety Deon Broomfield. Anderson said that the Davis block is "being addressed in accord with the Conference's Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy."

 
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