It was the best final play we’ve seen in college football in quite some time, and it never should have happened.
Officials mistakenly allowed Central Michigan to run an untimed down against Oklahoma State this past Saturday, this after Oklahoma State was penalized for intentional grounding. Central Michigan, which trailed 27-24, executed a 51-yard hook-and-ladder to perfection to win the game on the final play, 30-27.
But again, the play never should have happened.
Should Oklahoma State (1-1) be awarded the victory?
“I would,” Mike Pereira said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I really would – only because there never should have been a play. This is different, to me, than the Duke-Miami situation where you’re dealing with a judgment call. Was the knee actually down before the ball left his hands? Those are judgment things. This is a misapplication of the rule. I get that rule one says that the game is over when it’s declared over by the referee, but I think you can put in a rule that protects against this. The officials at that level, they need to be 100 percent up to date on the rules. And if the mis-enforcement of a penalty creates a situation where a play is run that never should have been run – it was over. We were sitting in the Fox studios thinking, ‘Okay, time to go to the next game.’ And then all of a sudden I see (the refs) huddle. All of a sudden we look and they’re lining up for a play.”
Corey Willis, who caught a lateral from Jesse Kroll at the Oklahoma State 12-yard line, fought his way to the end zone. In real time, many wondered if Willis actually broke the plane before he was tackled.
Only that was irrelevant.
“Forget about this being a touchdown,” Pereira said. “It is, but they never should have had this play. It does bring to light as to whether or not the rule is good – and that’s the issue. If you don’t want to extend the period as a defense, you decline the penalty. But an accepted penalty that creates a loss of town, it ends the period, ends the game because they don’t want to give the offense another play. But this isn’t what happens on fourth down. What you’re doing is you’re taking away the other team’s ability to have an extra snap.”
Moving to the pro level, Pereira also discussed the spotty officiating in last week’s Carolina/Denver game. The Broncos unloaded on Cam Newton early and often and were more or less unpunished for doing so.
Did the referees miss some calls in that one?
“I think they blatantly missed one,” Pereira said. “The shot that Brandon Marshall took on him that they missed was, to me, a blatant one and of course resulted in fines being issued today. It’s not a good thing that they missed the Brandon Marshall thing, but I’m more concerned with how it was handed overall at the end. This, to me, was the major breakdown in terms of leaving Cam Newton in the game. Cam Newton should have been removed by the current protocol that’s in place in the NFL, which simply states that if a player takes a helmet shot and he is at all stunned or dinged, he needs to be taken out of the game by the referees. That’s the first line of defense. It’s the referees. Cam was on the ground, face down, rolled over, on all fours, referees looking down on him – he’s got to go and the referees didn’t do it. So you have to look back and say did they not do it because there was 36 seconds left to go and Carolina’s behind and they didn’t want to effect the outcome of the game by forcing the backup quarterback to come in?”
But what if Newton told the officials that he was okay? Would he be allowed to remain in the game on his own authority?
“Cam Newton doesn’t have the right to say that,” Pereira said. “If he’s down on the ground and the officials are told to get him off the field – that, to me, was the big breakdown that the league is not very happy about. The doctors on the sidelines can say what they want to say, but it should have been handled before that. And if they say it’s because there was 36 seconds left to go, then they’re talking out of both sides of their mouth.”