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My head is spinning because of how many things are going on during this Camellia Bowl play that only sort of counted in the end

Middle Tennessee won 35-30, and the game was fine, but this bananas sequence towers above the rest of this bowl.

I’m overwhelmed by the volume of things going on during this play:

My head hurts, but let’s run through this football masterpiece during the first quarter of Saturday’s Middle Tennessee-Arkansas State Camellia Bowl:

  • MTSU receiver Shane Tucker makes a nice catch at the ASU 2-yard line, where he’s tackled.
  • But maybe he didn’t! Maybe he never controlled the ball at all, and maybe this is just an incomplete pass.
  • But maybe he did, and maybe he fumbled before he was down.
  • Maybe the ball got ripped out before Tucker had possession, and the guy who came up with it — Arkansas State’s Justin Clifton — just picked it off?
  • In real time, the officiating crew decided it was a fumble, or a pick, or something. So ASU’s Clifton took the ball and was off to the races.
  • Except Clifton himself fumbled at the MTSU 16, and the ball got batted around a bit before another Arkansas State player fell on it for a touchdown, 98 yards or so from where Middle Tennessee’s Tucker maybe caught the ball a few moments earlier.
  • But there was a video review.
  • And the video review ended with the referee announcing Clifton had intercepted the ball but been down himself at his own 1-yard line.

Middle Tennessee fans booed after the review decision came down, because they’d have preferred to not turned the ball over inside the other team’s 2-yard line. But Arkansas State fans might’ve been angry, too, because your own 1 is far worse field position than in the other team’s end zone.

(This seems to have been the right call. I think Clifton came away with the ball for Arkansas State before MTSU’s Tucker had it on the ground, and it’s pretty clear that Clifton himself was on the ground before taking off in the other direction.)

This was all very college football.

Later, MTSU won.