The Kansas State Wildcats came within inches, or one salute, of coming back to tie the Pinstripe Bowl. Instead, an ill-timed excessive celebration penalty, levied after Adrian Hilburn scored a touchdown to bring the Wildcats within two, turned a three-yard two-point conversion attempt into an 18-yard attempt. Kansas State's conversion failed and Syracuse left Yankee Stadium with the Pinstripe Bowl title.
Check out the video of the excessive celebration "penalty."
The explanation of the penalty was just as ridiculous as the penalty itself. The flag came-in because officials felt Hilburn was "drawing attention to himself" by saluting the crowd after the touchdown. In this instance, after the officials had already been calling a terrible game in the first place, it's safe to say the refs had a tangible impact on the outcome of the game.
Would this be a penalty if Hilburn broke out the salute in the Armed Forces or Military Bowl? Caught up in the heat of the moment, was it so bad that he showed some emotion after a huge play? It's not like Hilburn was showing-up the Orange or taunting the opponent. He simply gestured to the crowd.
It's a shame such a great game ended on such a sour note.. Just think, next year they can take away touchdowns for excessive celebration.