Starting off, I think that News9.com has a great article on the subject if you wish to seek an second opinion.
If you didn’t get to watch the 2013 edition of the Bedlam game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys News9.com has a really great summary and highlight of the game.
We are going to cover a (somewhat) controversial call that happened late in the fourth quarter as the Sooners were driving down the field to try and win the game.
Oklahoma’s third string quarterback on the day Blake Bell heaves a pass in the air to Senior LaColton Bester, but Oklahoma State’s star defensive back Justin Gilbert stepped in the way of the pass. Gilbert seemed to have control of the ball, when Gilbert landed on his back the ball began to move a little, and by the time the players had fully hit the ground the ball popped out of Gilbert’s grasp and landed on the ground.
Under the NCAA’s old rules this would’ve been an interception, and the end of the game.
However under the NCAA’s new rules the player must posses the ball all the way through contact with the ground.
“a. To catch a ball means that a player:
1. secures control of a live ball in flight with his hands or arms before the ball touches the ground, and
2. touches the ground in bounds with any part of his body, and then
3. maintains control of the ball long enough to enable him to perform an act common to the game, i.e., long enough to pitch or hand the ball, advance it, avoid or ward off an opponent, etc., and
4. satisfies paragraphs b,c, and d below.
b. if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching (with or without contact by an opponent) he must maintain complete and continuous control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or in the end zone … if he loses control of the ball which then touches the ground before he regains control, it is not a catch.”
c. If the player loses control of the ball while simultaneously touching the ground with any part of his body, or if there is doubt that the acts were simultaneous, it is not a catch. If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered a loss of possession; he must lose control of the ball in order for there to be a loss of possession.”
It’s a bit complicated, I know, but the correct call was made.
That wasn’t the only controversial thing that happened during Saturdays game, however.
Late in the third quarter trailing 17-10, the Sooners faced a fourth and goal from about the eight yard line. Head coach Bob Stoops decided it was time to try some trickery. The Sooners faked the short field goal and ran a pass to kicker Micheal Hunnicut. Hunnicut catches the ball on about the two yard line, takes 2 steps and enters the end-zone when he is blasted by Oklahoma State’s Caleb Lavey. Hunnicut seems to maintain possession until he hits the ground when the ball can be seen flying out of the kickers hands.
On this particular play the refs ruled that the catch and the steps were enough to gain possession of the ball, and once he crossed the goal line the play was technically dead, so the fumble afterwards didn’t matter.
Two tough calls that you hate to see play such large roles in the game, but that is the way the story unfolded in Stillwater Saturday, as the Sooners win it 33-24.