Pac-12 says controversial call in Ole Miss vs. Cal game was correct, but should have been reviewed

Cal went on the road to Ole Miss on Saturday and pulled out a dramatic 28-20 victory, but it wasn’t without some controversy.

Trailing by eight in the final minute and playing without any timeouts, it looked like Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee found Elijah Moore for a touchdown on third-and-goal, but Moore was ruled short of the goal line. The play was not reviewed and Ole Miss’ final try at the end zone came up short as time expired.

On Sunday, the Pac-12 announced that the call made on the field was correct. Here is how close the third-down play was to being a touchdown:

(via ESPN)
(via ESPN)

And here’s one of the better angles we saw of the play on Saturday:

Ole Miss players on the field thought it was a touchdown, but the side judge ruled Moore short and the clock kept ticking. All of a sudden the Ole Miss players were forced to scramble up to the line of scrimmage and get one final snap off — on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Plumlee tried to keep on a sneak and was stuffed short of the end zone as time expired, preserving a 28-20 win for the Golden Bears.

Pac-12: Play should have been reviewed

At the very minimum, most thought the third-down play should have been reviewed. The Pac-12 said Sunday there would have been “no irrefutable video evidence to reverse those calls by replay” and the call of no touchdown would have stood. However, the league acknowledged that it “would have supported play being stopped for further review” and the replay officials “should have used better judgement to stop play for a formal review.”

From the Pac-12:

Prior to the final play of the game, Instant Replay observed replay video from a camera angle down the goal line and determined that there was no irrefutable video evidence that there was a touchdown on the third down reception. However, the Conference acknowledged that Instant Replay should have used better judgement to stop play for a formal review of the third down play. Had there been a formal review, and by using all available broadcast video, there was no irrefutable video evidence that the ruling short of the goal line on the pass play could be overturned to a touchdown and the call on the field of no touchdown would have stood.

Along with its written explanation, the Pac-12 included a video explanation from vice president of officiating David Coleman. It included this goal-line angle not shown on the broadcast that shows there would not have been enough evidence to overturn the call on the field.

(via Pac-12)
(via Pac-12)

Had there been a review, however, Ole Miss would have gotten a chance to get its offense settled before running a fourth-down play.

Instead, Plumlee’s sneak — a play that was reviewed by instant replay — was pretty easily stopped short by Cal.

(via ESPN)
(via ESPN)

After the game, Ole Miss interim athletic director Keith Carter released a statement saying the school was “extremely disappointed with the officiating at the end of the game.”

“We are expecting a full explanation from the Pac-12 regarding the call and subsequent non-review of the 3rd down play,” Carter said. “We feel strongly that the play should have been reviewed by the Pac-12 officials in the review booth. Even if the play didn’t result in a touchdown, the spot of the ball on 4th down was questionable.”

Carter and Ole Miss got their explanation from the Pac-12 on Sunday night, and it probably didn’t make them feel much better about the loss.

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