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Referee review blunder in FCS playoff game wipes out 15-yard play for Montana (Video)

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday

College football officials are subject to criticism in each game. Sometimes the criticism is just and sometimes it is excessive, but with this blunder that took place during the second round of the FCS playoffs between Coastal Carolina and Montana, I don’t think you can complain enough.

With 7:20 to go in the third quarter, the Grizzlies were trailing the Chanticleers 42-21 but were driving deep into CCU territory to try to cut into the lead. On a second down play from the 35-yard line, quarterback Jordan Johnson found receiver Sean Haynes for an 18-yard gain down to the CCU 17.

Haynes dove to make the catch, but it appeared that the catch was clean, so the referees set the ball for the next play, where Johnson tossed a middle-screen to running back Jordan Canada who took the ball down to the two-yard line.

As the Grizzlies approached the line for a supposed first and goal play from the two, the referees huddled up and announced a perplexing review. The announcers thought they were reviewing the spot where Canada advanced the ball inside the five, but instead it was the previous play, the Johnson-to-Haynes throw, that was being reviewed. The officials went ahead with the review despite the fact that another play – the pass to Canada -- had already been run.

The review confirmed that the pass to Haynes was a completed catch, and then the referees re-spotted the ball back to the 17-yard line, wiping out the throw to Canada. The review probably came from the people in the replay booth, but the simple fact is that the review should have never been allowed by the referees on the field because the Grizzlies had already run another play.

Montana head coach Mick Delaney was understandably perplexed by the sequence of events, and the blunder ended up costing the Grizzlies points. Instead of a first and goal from the two, the Grizzlies faced first and ten from the 17 again. After an incomplete pass, a four-yard run and another incomplete pass, Montana faced fourth and six from the 13. Down 21, Montana went for the first down and failed.

Those missed points were crucial as the Grizzlies eventually fell at home 42-35. Ouch.

Thanks to Twitter user Haz_37 for the tip.

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