Oklahoma State appeared to have gotten a gift in the second quarter of its 36-34 win over Kansas State.
Trailing 28-13, the Cowboys were apparently given a first down after a third-down conversion that came up short of the yard marker. How the heck did it happen? We'll attempt to explain it here.
The apparent mistake was first brought up by SB Nation's Bring on the Cats. Oklahoma State was penalized on first down for holding at the Kansas State 45. The penalty meant 1st and 20 from the OSU 45.
The next play was a sack for a seven-yard loss. On second down, Oklahoma State got four yards. So it was 3rd and 23. The third down play got 19 yards. You can see that 23-19 means there are four yards to go, right? Nope. OSU got a first down. Here's the entire sequence from the Fox Sports 1 broadcast:
This is what the play looks like from Oklahoma State's play-by-play. It's even confused.
1st and 20 at OSU45 1st and 15.
1st and 15 at OSU45 Rudolph, Mason sacked for loss of 7 yards to the OSU38 (Bryant, Marquel).
2nd and 22 at OSU38 Rudolph, Mason pass complete to McCleskey,Jalen for 4 yards to the OSU42 (Britz, Travis).
3rd and 18 at OSU42 Rudolph, Mason pass complete to Ateman, Marcell for 19 yards to the KS39, 1ST DOWN OSU (Burns, Morgan).
1st and 10 at KS39 Rudolph, Mason pass complete to Washington, J. for 25 yards to the KS14, 1ST DOWN OSU (McDaniel, D.).
Can you spot the mistake in the play-by-play? The 1st-and-20 was changed to a 1st-and-15. With five fewer yards, Oklahoma State appears to have picked up the first down in the play-by-play. And we think we know why the linesman on the near side of the field signaled for the first down after Washington's catch.
Look where the first-down marker is placed in this frame. It's roughly at the 40. If the line to gain was originally the 35, then in the course of the four plays the chains got mistakenly moved. It appears as if it was a mistake by the chain gang rather than the officiating crew.
Why is this a big deal? Well, Oklahoma State scored a touchdown four plays later to make the score 28-20. We understand why Kansas State fans are upset; Oklahoma State was gifted a first down and it's an incredibly confusing sequence.
But Oklahoma State had a 25-yard gain on what would have been fourth down. The first down (and should have been fourth down) play was not an incomplete pass or a two-yard gain.
Plus, do we know for sure that both teams realized that a mistake had been made? Did Kansas State say anything to the officials? Did any of the officials even recognize that a mistake was made after it was too late to change the play?
We understand how the linesman instinctively blew the play dead after he saw the receiver make the catch past the marker. But this is a mistake that shouldn't have happened, especially with replay available. And it's an especially cruel coincidence for the Big 12. This week is the 25th anniversary of the infamous fifth down play that gifted Colorado a win over Missouri when both schools were in the Big 8.
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