Central Michigan beat 18th-ranked Oklahoma State on a fantastic lateraled Hail Mary, but the game’s referees admit the play never should have happened. The untimed down on which Central Michigan scored the game-winning points was awarded in error, according to head official Tim O’Dey.
O’Dey told a pool reporter a condensed version of what we explained in a previous post about the game’s thrilling, bewildering finale. The MAC, the conference which O’Dey works for, also admitted the mistake, although they said they will not change the outcome of the game. The conference announced it's suspending the eight-man officiating crew for two games, and video officials are also suspended.
MAC announces 2-game suspension for officiating crew that bungled end of Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game pic.twitter.com/bmiyau24dU— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) September 11, 2016
So here’s what happened: When the clock expires during a play on which a foul is committed, there’s supposed to be an untimed down added, unless the penalty for that foul includes a loss of down. Oklahoma State committed intentional grounding as the clock expired, and since the penalty for intentional grounding carries a loss of down, that should’ve been the game’s final play.
But the referees added an untimed down. And since the intentional grounding was committed on fourth down, a turnover on downs was assessed and Central Michigan got the ball. Ok-State head coach Mike Gundy addressed what happened on the Cowboys' final play.
Statement from Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on end of Central Michigan game: pic.twitter.com/ViHRv0nvZ8— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) September 11, 2016
When they got the ball, they did this.
Simply put, if the officials had correctly interpreted the rulebook, Oklahoma State would’ve won 27-24. Instead, they incorrectly gave Central Michigan an extra play, and Central Michigan used that play to win 30-27. That’s as big of an error as an official can make.
Not to stir conspiracy theories, but O’Dey is a MAC official, meaning his conference benefits from CMU’s stunner.
Even CMU thought the game was over: