Did Washington get hosed by the refs?

One of the most talked-about plays this weekend was the final play of the Washington-BYU game. If you somehow didn’t hear about it went like this:

  • BYU was leading 28-21, with a few seconds left in the 4th quarter
  • Washington QB Jake Locker scores with 2 seconds left to make the score 28-27
  • After he scored, he threw the ball in the air behind him and then hugged his teammates in celebration
  • An unsportsmanlike penalty was called by Larry Farina for excessive celebration, resulting in a 15 yard penalty
  • The resulting extra point (now about 34 yards instead of 19) was blocked, winning the game for BYU.
Here’s a clip of the end of the game:

So the big question: was it the right call?

On one hand, it was completely fair — the rules clearly state that it should be called as a penalty. However, the rules also clearly state that the ball should be “returned to the official or left near the dead ball spot”. How often does that happen? 50% of the time, maybe? I guess I missed all of those other penalties when players toss the ball on the ground.

The PAC-10 has come out and said it was a good call. What do you think?


  1. I can agree that most of the time, a bad call or two really has no effect on the outcome of the contest, however, in this case is was huge. To blow two critical calls during the game that resulted on 15 Denver points made it huge. Simply saying that there was nothing Hochuli could do is an unacceptable excuse and a cop-out to say the least. Putting this in perspective that it is a game is not valid, many people’s careers are based on a game. As a high school football coach and former college football player, I am in the “business” of teaching and molding our future leaders. How can I say that playing the game by the rules and by doing what is right has any validity at all when officiating totally blows a call on national television TWICE and we have a society that continues to ignore greater maladies of unsportsmanlike conduct. There are no consequences for inappropriate unsportsmanship and there will be no justification for the chargers nor penalty for Hochuli’s crew making such huge mistakes.

  2. All this rambling about the Denver game. Looking at the Washington game which is what this post was about the call is correct. Washington got hosed by the inflexibility of the NCAA rulebook not the NCAA official. The rule EXPLICITLY states you can’t throw the ball in the air. It may be a bad rule, at the very least an inflexible rule but it was properly applied.