As Boise State roared back to take the lead against Fresno State, the comeback could have been squashed had an incredibly close call gone against quarterback Joe Southwick and the Broncos.
Boise was driving to take a 38-34 lead in the fourth quarter and Southwick took off from the pocket and sprinted towards the sideline and the end zone. As he reached out for as much yardage as possible, the ball was knocked from his hands.
It rolled through the back of the end zone before anyone could recover it. But as the ball was pried loose, Southwick stepped out of bounds. What happened first? One official signaled touchback while the official behind the play said Southwick was out of bounds.
The officials ultimately ruled that Southwick was out at the three. Replays were, well, watch for yourself. It looks like Southwick simultaneously lost possession as his foot hit the white line. After watching over and over again, you could certainly make the case that the ball had started to sneak out of his grasp before his cleat was down.
But because the call on the field was that Southwick had stepped out first, replays were ultimately inconclusive and Boise took the lead a short time later. However, Fresno State drove back down the field for the winning touchdown, 41-40.
On Saturday, Louisiana Tech quarterback Ryan Higgins tried the same thing as Southwick but with a different result. Higgins clearly lost the ball before he stepped out of bounds while reaching for a touchdown and Kansas recovered. At the time of Higgins' fumble, Tech was leading 10-3 and another touchdown would have likely put the game out of reach. Instead, Kansas came back to tie the game and win on a 52-yard field goal after another Louisiana Tech fumble.