Again with Iowa State?
When it comes to late, game-swinging calls, 2013 has not been kind to the Cyclones.
The latest occurred on the gridiron Thursday night in Ames. With Iowa State, clinging to a 30-24 lead, Texas running back Jonathan Gray appeared to fumble at the Cyclones 1 late in the game.
Gray was fighting for the end zone, and the whistle hadn’t blown, when Iowa State’s Jeremiah George ripped the ball from Gray’s hands and ran off. But officials ruled Gray was down before the fumble occurred.
The play was reviewed and call upheld. Texas later scored on a Case McCoy quarterback sneak and won 31-30.
An agitated Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads, who has been a YouTube sensation for locker room celebration scenes after upsets, went off in his postgame news conference.
“I have pretty good eyesight,” he said. “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.”
Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg can relate.
Twice, late in the season critical Iowa State games turned on controversial calls that went against the Cyclones.
In a game against Kansas on Feb. 26 in Ames, Big 12 officials were reprimanded for calls that favored the Jayhawks: a foul that went to the wrong player, and no whistle in a block-charge situation under the basket. The league admitted officiating errors were made and two officials were disciplined.
Iowa State’s season ended in an NCAA Tournament loss to Ohio State in Dayton, Ohio, when the Buckeyes’ Aaron Craft ripped a last-second three-pointer.
But the Cyclones had to imagine what might have been. They were leading by one with 1:41 remaining when Will Clyburn hit a layup and collided with Craft, who replays showed was close to being in the restricted area under the basket. That would put Craft in illegal guarding position. Had the basket counted, Iowa State would have led by three with perhaps a chance to extend at the free-throw line. The NCAA suggested its officials blew the call, which was no reviewable.
“It’s gut-wrenching,” Hoiberg said after the game.
That’s been Iowa State’s theme in 2013.