Wisconsin traveled out to the desert to take on Arizona State in a highly-anticipated, out-of-conference showdown on Saturday night. By the time most of the country was asleep or partying, however, all anyone could talk about was the wild ending.
At roughly two in the morning Eastern, Badgers quarterback Joel Stave took a knee to kill the clock with more than 10 seconds remaining in the game. The idea was to center the football and kick a game-winning field goal. As you can easily see in the photo above, Stave did, in fact, take a knee. However, the refs bungled through the entire process, essentially handing the Sun Devils the 32-30 win in one of the most bizarre finishes we will see all season.
Fox analyst and officiating guru Mike Pereira came out and said that Wisconsin should have been able to run one last play. On Monday, the Pac-12 came out and essentially admitted the exact same thing. The conference has officially reprimanded the referees who basically forced the Badgers into their first loss of the season.
“This was an unusual situation to end the game,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “After a thorough review, we have determined that the officials fell short of the high standard in which Pac-12 games should be managed. We will continue to work with all our officials to ensure this type of situation never occurs again.”
The Pac-12′s statement includes that the conference will be handing down sanctions for the crew, although it did not provide any specifics. The issue at hand was not that the refs mistook Stave’s actions, but that they allowed nearly 18 seconds to drain off the clock and let the game end.
“Neither the referee nor anyone on his crew moved with appropriate urgency to clearly communicate that the ball was to be spotted so play could resume promptly.”
For Wisconsin fans, this reprimand must ring hollow following the Saturday night debacle. However, first year coach Gary Andersen was much more eloquent than the curse words Sconnie Nation was lobbing at their televisions.
“It’s accountability, which at the end of the day is what we asked for,” Andersen said when asked about the Pac-12′s statement.