It looked like Iowa State had wrestled away Texas’ chances to beat the Cyclones on Thursday night. But the officials ruled otherwise and the Longhorns won 31-30.
To Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads and many watching the game on ESPN, Texas running back Jonathan Gray fumbled at the Iowa State 1 with the Longhorns trailing 30-24 late in the game.
Gray appeared to be fighting for the end zone, and the whistle had yet to blow, when Iowa State’s Jeremiah George ripped the ball from Gray’s hands and ran off. But officials ruled that Gray was down before the fumble occurred. The play was reviewed, but the call was upheld. Texas later scored on a Case McCoy QB sneak and the extra point put the Horns ahead for good.
Rhoads, giving an opening statement to reporters after the game, was incensed.
“How proud I am of the work they put forth, the effort they gave tonight,” Rhoads said, his voice rising. “And to make a play on the 1-yard line with their backs against the wall, clear to everybody, and have it taken away from them?
“That’s hard to express. You don’t just put an arm around a guy and tell him ‘It’s OK’ when that happens to him. …
“I have pretty good eyesight. The view I had of that gigantic screen in the north end zone showed a player that was not down, and our guy with the football.”
Walt Anderson, the Big 12 supervisor of football officials, said Friday in a statement that there was no video evidence to prove the call was incorrect.
“The ruling made on the goal line play was that the runner was down by rule with the ball. 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.”