Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
Another week…another college football referee controversy. This one isn’t as bad as the ones at the ending of the Duke-Miami game (thank God), but it was significant nonetheless.
In the Arizona State-Washington State game, Wazzu was going for it on 4th and 5. They attempted a screen pass which was sniffed out by the Sun Devils defense who clearly stopped the receiver as seen in the video below:
However, if you had the sound on, you may have heard a whistle blow as the receiver is being pushed back. Even with that whistle, the Arizona St. defense still manages to push the receiver out of bounds well, well short of the first down.
After the play (which would ultimately not be counted as a play), the refs huddled and decided that an inadvertent whistle was blown which prompts a visit to the college football rulebook. The rule on an inadvertent whistle states that if the whistle is blown while a player has the ball, then the team in possession gets to either replay the down or take the spot of the ball. The spot of the ball would have resulted in a turnover on downs so Wazzu chose to replay the down AKA get a 5th down.
And you can probably guess what happened on this 5th down: Washington State scores a touchdown to cut the score to 14-10. With a point spread of 2.5 for this game, this phantom down and accompanying score could have a huge impact, and not just with the teams.