I was at the UW-BYU game and the ending was heartbreakingly ridiculous with the Pac-10 officials once again deciding a game with a horrible call. It’s sad that this debacle could cost Ty Willingham his job.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Ted Miller– September 6, 2008
It was one of the worst judgment calls you will ever see — no your eyes and instincts and sense of fairness didn’t deceive you.
When Washington quarterback Jake Locker ran for a 3-yard touchdown to put the Huskies within a converted PAT of tying their game with BYU, he threw the ball behind his neck so he could hug his teammates in order to properly enjoy a thrilling moment as the fans went bonkers.
He was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for his celebration, a point of emphasis for officials this season.
He certainly didn’t break the spirit of the rule.
The Huskies should have converted the resulting 35-yard PAT after 15 yards were walked off. It’s a routine field goal distance.
But they didn’t.
And the result may irrevocably doom Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham.
From Bob Condotta’s Washington Football blog:
Here is the official statement from referee Larry Farina on the penalty on Jake Locker at the end of the game:
“After scoring the touchdown, the player threw the ball into the air and we are required, by rule, to assess a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It is a celebration rule that we are required to call. it was not a judgment call.”
The rule in question is Rule 9, Section 2, Article 1 of the rule book.
Section C of that rule states that “throwing the ball high into the air” is an unsportsmanlike act.
Locker most certainly did not throw the ball “high into the air.”
The Pac-10 needs to formally explain this call. Or it should correct it, even if it can’t change the result.
And, in the oft-chance that somehow, some way, this rule can be twisted so Locker actually did something wrong based on the furthest periphery of the rule book, then that rule should be stricken from the rule book.
This is a game. It’s supposed to be fun. Big moments should be celebrated.
There was absolutely zero element of taunting in the way Locker reacted. Period.
The Huskies made so many mistakes in this game.
Locker missed too many open receivers. Receivers dropped too many easy passes. The Huskies defense was again terrible — BYU was an astounding 12 of 14 on third-down conversions.
BYU looked like a better team, to be quite honest.
But the ending transformed a highly entertaining game that should have been decided in overtime into a big, messy controversy.