Michigan State knows all about winning in dramatic fashion.
Unfortunately on Saturday—just three weeks removed from a wild finish inside Michigan Stadium that ultimately gave the Spartans a win against their in-state rival—Mark Dantonio and his squad found out what it’s like to be on the losing end of a last minute touchdown against Nebraska in Lincoln.
In what was a controversial play, officials ruled Nebraska wide receiver Brandon Reilly was forced out of bounds by a Spartans defender before recovering and establishing himself inbounds to make the catch that ultimately decided the game.
The replay showed Reilly went out of bounds on his own. Replay officials reviewed the play and the touchdown stood, though the call itself on Edmondson forcing Reilly out isn’t supposed to be reviewable.
Bill Carollo, the Big Ten’s coordinator of officials, said in a statement after the game via ESPN: “They can’t review whether it was a force out/contact on the play. They can only review if there was clear evidence of no contact and he (Reilly) re-established himself in the field of play. If he goes out of bounds on his own with no contact, it’s an illegal touch. Therefore the call stood.”
And on Sunday, the Big Ten conference made a statement to ESPN.com supporting Carollo’s thoughts that the correct decision on the field was made:
“Per NCAA rules, the instant replay crew cannot review the severity of contact, as that is a judgment call handled by the officials on the field. If the player went out of bounds without contact, he may not return to the field to make the catch unless it has been touched first by an opponent. The instant replay crew did confirm contact between the players, that the wide receiver reestablished himself in the field of play and completed the catch. After the replay review, the referee announced that the play stands as called on the field. The intent of instant replay is not to review all judgment calls.”
The Cornhuskers won just their second Big Ten game of the season in what ended in a 39-38 win over Michigan State, snapping the Spartans 12-game winning streak and crippling their hopes for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports