Referees have been getting a hard time in college football season for making inexcusable calls. Wisconsin, North Carolina State, and TCU are some of the teams that can all look back at a game where the refs either made bad calls at the end of a game or changed the momentum of one. Iowa State can join the list after the refs botched a fumble at the goal line that would have sealed a victory over Texas.
Here’s the play with just over a minute to go. The Cyclones had a 30-24 lead when Jeremiah George picked up the fumble before the whistle blew.
There was another fumble that George could have gotten on the next play, but it was never reviewed by the officials. Texas went on to get a touchdown to take a one-point lead. Sam Richardson would lead Iowa State to about midfield before he faced pressure and threw a ball that was picked off.
Here’s George’s response over the “controversy” on Twitter:
I had a dream last night, I made a game winning tackle and strip for a fumble. I scored we won. Then the thunder storm woke me up..
— Jeremiah George (@JGeorge52) October 4, 2013
Before I go on a rant that won’t match the greatness of head coach Paul Rhoads after the game, do keep in mind that there is always more than one reason that teams win or lose a game. Iowa State can look back and say if they could have prevented a hail mary before the half, they could have easily carried their momentum into half and win the game. But, a call like this also saved Notre Dame’s season last year when they took on Stanford and made it to the national championship.
There is no controversy about this call. Johnathan Gray clearly fumbled before any whistle was blown. Being at the game, there were two replays on the video screen that clearly showed it. Some people have been confused on whether or not this was a reviewable play, and it is. Forward progress can be reviewed if it produces a first down or a touchdown.
It’s unbelievable that even with video evidence in crystal clear high definition, calls still are wrong. If I ever made an error that glaring, I’d be suspended or fired from my day job. I’m not calling for the refs to be fired, but suspended would be suitable.
The Cyclones could have evened up their season at 2-2 after winning unexpectedly at Tulsa and against Texas after a dismal 0-2 start against the state of Iowa. They could have had all the momentum and know that it took just a 4-4 finish to be considered in a bowl game at the end of the season.
But no. The refs took away that momentum and now Iowa State will have to finish 5-3 in the Big 12 conference to just be a consideration for a bowl game. The players put in so much work and effort into this game that it didn’t deserve to be taken away like that. So did the coaches, and so did the fans.
It’s okay to be emotional after this loss, and both fans and players need to get it out of their system. Take the bullshit call and turn it around into a positive. Don’t let that call ruin the season. Take advantage of the extra days off before a weekly Saturday grind begins.
Win or lose, I’m so proud of this team when they put in the effort like they did last night. That effort will get rewarded and the fans will keep coming back every week.