If you had told me before the weekend that Johnny Manziel would pile up 562 yards and 5 touchdowns against Alabama and still lose the game, I would have thought you were crazy.
Of course, if you also told me that the Arizona State Sun Devils would of knocked off the 20th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers all because ASU linebacker Anthony Jones decided to take a brief 10-second nap on the ball to prevent the Badgers’ game-winning field goal, then I would have asked even more questions.
In another one of those you-have-see-to-see-to-believe-it scenarios that college football presents us, Arizona State led at home against Wisconsin, 32-30. Twenty seconds were left in the game, and the Badgers possessed the ball on the ASU 13-yard line with a 1st and 10.
With about 15 seconds left in the game, Wisconsin sophomore QB Joel Stave received the snap cleanly and rushed the ball over to midfield, centering the ball up for what was to be a game-winning 30-yard field goal attempt for junior kicker Kyle French.
Arizona State linebacker Anthony Jones had other plans.
Thinking Stave had fumbled the ball, Jones and a couple other members of the Sun Devils defensive front seven jumped on the ball, and thought they recovered Stave’s fumble to win the game.
Obviously, the referees knew Stave’s intent, saw what had happened on the play, and ruled the result as a loss of two yards.
This was just what the Wisconsin quarterback had wanted, but instead of lining up the potential ensuing snap to spike the ball and stop the clock, Anthony Jones made the decision to just keep laying on the ball, not allowing the refs to respot it for the next play.
Time kept ticking, and by the time the ball was respotted, it was too late for the Badgers. Everyone in full-black started celebrating the upset, while the white-clad Joel Stave unsuccessfully tried to explain to the referees what had happened.
The end result of the game for ASU was a 32-30 win over #20 Wisconsin, making them 2-0 and boosting them up to 23rd in this week’s AP Poll. Voters must have understood the case for Wisconsin, however, as they only drop four spots to #24.
As for the Pac-12 officiating crew, they will also face punishment. Conference commissioner Larry Scoot said that the refs will face “additional sanctions, for their failure to properly administer the end of game situation and act with appropriate urgency on the game’s final play.” Scott also announced that he will be “working” with these officials to “ensure that this situation never happens again.”
Meanwhile, in Tempe, Arizona, the Sun Devil faithful are more than thankful for the referee mishap. Arizona State could use a little help from the officiating crew. Their next three games? at Stanford, vs USC, and Notre Dame.