STILLWATER, Okla. — The referee for the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game admitted that officials mistakenly awarded an untimed final play to the Chippewas, which they used to score a miraculous winning touchdown to beat the Cowboys 30-27 on Saturday.
Oklahoma State was penalized for intentional grounding on its final offensive play, which is a loss of down penalty. Rules state that the game cannot end on an accepted live-ball penalty, official Tim O’Dey of the Mid-American Conference, CMU’s league, said.
“There’s an exception to the rule that says if enforcement of the foul involves a loss of down, then that brings the game to an end,” O’Dey told a pool reporter after the game.”
He said after conferring with the national rules editor, officials determined the “extension should not have happened.”
Corey Willis scored the winning touchdown after grabbing a lateral from Jesse Kroll at the Oklahoma State 12.
Oklahoma State (1-1) thought it had won when Mason Rudolph threw the ball away on fourth down as the clock expired, but after the officials conferred, they assessed an intentional grounding penalty and gave Central Michigan another play.
“That’s a tough one. Just so everyone knows, I was the one who called the passing play,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “To be honest with you, I never even thought of intentional grounding being called at that point in the game. As much time as we put into end of game situations that never really crossed my mind. Unfortunately, that’s a difficult way to learn a hard lesson.”
Cooper Rush lofted up a Hail Mary pass that hit Kroll just inside the 10. As Kroll was being taken down, he pitched it back to Willis at about the 12, who cut across the field and barely managed to score while being dragged down.
“To be honest, I actually had a missed assignment on that, I wasn’t supposed to be right there, but it all worked for the better,” said Willis. “We know Jesse Kroll is going to go up and get the ball every time, it’s just something we practice all the time and we executed it.”
Coach John Bonamego said: “It’s an improbable finish, but it’s a situation that we practiced and rehearsed. We were able to execute and pull out the win.”
Central Michigan fans might have been having flashbacks to the Bahamas Bowl from two seasons ago, when the Chips covered almost the length of the field on a long pass and lateral play to make it a one-point game with no time left against Western Kentucky. In that fabulous finish, Central Michigan went for 2 and the win and did not convert. This time around, the Chippewas (2-0) were able run off with one of their biggest victories ever.