The Big 12 announced Monday evening that conference officials in Saturday's Red River Showdown made a clock error, allowing Texas an extra 39 seconds during the fourth quarter of a 53-45 four-overtime loss.
The mistake took place just past the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger took off running on a third-and-4 play inside their own 20-yard line. While initially ruled a first down, a lengthy review overturned the call by marking Ehlinger short. It also incorrectly put nearly 40 seconds of game time back on the clock; instead of the clock restarting at 5:57, it was set to 6:36.
"Big 12 Conference football officials liaison Greg Burks acknowledges that a timing error did occur. The play clock should have been set to 5:57 after that play," a statement from the Big 12 conference read.
Ehlinger ultimately ended up throwing a pick on that drive, but Texas would score 14 unanswered points to tie the game at 31 within the final five minutes. Texas' tying touchdown, in fact, was scored with just 14 seconds left on the clock. At that point, Oklahoma was prepared to let it go into overtime.
And indeed to overtime it went. Oklahoma and Texas battled for four extra periods until the Sooners finally picked off Ehlinger for a second time to seal the game. So while the extra 39 seconds didn't explicitly cost Oklahoma the game, it very well could have and it certainly made a difference.
Sooners coach Lincoln Riley knew something wasn't adding up at the time and was understandably upset when that much time was added back. Speaking with reporters about it Monday, Riley acknowledged that pointing out the clock issue ultimately fell on deaf ears.
More Lincoln Riley on clock issue: "Several of us, right away, when they came over the loudspeaker and said 6:36, we obviously knew that wasn't correct. I thought we made a fairly good argument on the sideline but the officials were pretty convinced it was right." #Sooners— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) October 12, 2020
Because the officiating gaffe didn't result in Texas winning the game, it didn't get as much play as SEC officials completely botching the end of Arkansas-Auburn. Still, this was an egregious error, and the Big 12's lucky it wasn't a bigger deal in the annual rivalry between its two biggest blue-bloods.