Video: Referees cost Wisconsin the game

  • Brett

In over a decade of watching football, both collegiate and professional, I am not sure if I have ever seen a mistake like this. Yes, you could point to mistakes like last year’s Green Bay Packers vs Seattle Seahawks game where the referees blew the games. However, those were replacement referees. But, tonight, this game and these refs made those replacement referees look like all-stars. Tonight’s referees were not replacements. This is their job and they failed miserably.

One has to expect the referees will be punished following a review of this game. I also wonder if Wisconsin will have a legitimate claim at the game results being thrown out (something I have never seen).

So what happened? With Wisconsin driving down the field for the go-ahead field goal, the referees took over and handed Arizona State the game. Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave went to take a knee but instead placed the ball on the ground, essentially giving himself up to place the ball in the middle of the field.

Instead of spotting the ball and allowing the Badgers to spike the ball, the referees allowed mayhem to ensue. First, Arizona State’s Anthony Jones laid on top of the ball, which should have been a dead ball delay of game penalty. Then, one referee told Wisconsin they had to wait, while the play clock continued to tick down. As the referees and players tried to figure out what was happening, the clock ticked down to zero and the game was over.

Surely, this will go down as one of the worst, if not the worst, referee mistakes of all time.

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45 Responses to Video: Referees cost Wisconsin the game

  • I watched this game; worst referees I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m an OSU fan with no love for Wis and this POS ref job surpasses the refs at the 2008 NC OSU/LSU game who gave it to LSU.
    Horrible calling all game with pass interference. Apparently, a defender is not allowed to go for an open ball in the PAC. The end of the game was the worst part. The NCAA should overturn the ASU win and give it to Wisconsin because of the blatant interference and no call for delay of game. Keep it up NCAA and you’ll be as big of a joke as boxing.

    • the game is over you knuckleheads simpley cannot let go. Wis blew it. They were behind and if they had not AZ scored this would be a non issue. Simple as that. AZ won the game; period. the scored more points. it is over get that!


      • you was not watching the same game I was.

      • Well now you will allowing cheating in recurring, cheating in the class room and now the ref have join in by cheating on the games. The PAC 10 are the biggest cry babies, The last 15 second should be replayed. Or is ASU scared to see what the out come would be. Wisconsin 33 ASU 32.

    • No worries guys…soon they will be playing of a field of cheese brine (along with their roads) and all will be well!!! LMAO!!!

  • Quit whining. First, the Wisconsin receiver was clearly out of bounds on the play preceding the final drive, putting the ball back on the 45 or so rather than the 26. Second, the QB never downed the ball, effectively fumbling it when he (stupidly) laid it on the ground. The fumblerooski (or whatever) is precisely that – the QB leaves the ball on the ground, pretends to run in one direction, and a lineman swoops in, collects the ball, and runs in the other direction. The clock, and the play, does not stop simply because the QB puts the ball on the ground – which is why the fumblerooski works (check out the 1984 Orange Bowl). However, the real stupidly belongs to the Wisconsin coach, who chose to run another play, without any more time outs, rather than attempt a field goal.
    And that Wisconsin defensive back who thinks you can maul the receiver continuously downfield – it’s a penalty.

    • Hey Brainiac Schema…..the fumblerooski has not been allowed for over 15 years now (we’re no in Miami in 1984 anymore Dorothy). Perhaps you should know the current rule book before you spout off your fountain of misinformation. As for the receiver being clearly out of bounds….really??? You must have great vision, as the only angle ESPN had was from the opposite side of the field & NO WAY to tell whether he was in or out (however, the 15 yd face mask penalty for twisitng the head was not called either, and even Bob Griese saw that one plain as day). Judgement calls will be blown every game, but a total misapplication of the rules , especially at a crucial point in the game, should never be tolerated. NCAA should suspend both the white hat (referee) & umpire for at least 2 weeks.

      • Walleye –
        If you have two eyes not located on opposite sides of your head, it’s clear that the runner stepped out of bounds. I’ll concede one point – it’s true that the pure form of the fumblerooskie is now illegal, although the QB can lay the ball down behind him, not in front of him. Also, and what’s critical, is this – the play is over when the QB takes a knee, not when he places the ball on the ground. Here’s the NCAA rule: Rule 4, Section 1, Article 3(o): “A live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound his whistle or declare it dead … When a ball carrier simulates placing his knee on the ground.

        • You provided the rule that supports the argument you say you are on the other side of. “When a ball carrier simulates placing his knee on the ground.” Simulates, not actually touches the ground with his knee. The QB simulated taking a knee. The rule you quote says the referee should have blown the whistle. That rule you quote should have been the end of it. The defender deliberately delaying the game by laying on top of the ball would have been a moot point, but that is against the rules and the referees allowed that delay. The referee actually holding up the center after he placed the ball was even more ridiculous. The referees ran off the field afraid to deal with their mistakes, likely because the Sun Devils and their fans stormed the field. Cowardly incompetent referees simply did not follow the rule you quoted. I am a fan of neither team, just a fan of fair play. The refs threw out the rulebook and that prevented a fair chance for one team to run one last play. It cheapens the game and the win and any school with integrity would step up and say so.

    • You’re wrong schema. The fumblerooski play is where the center scoots the ball back about a foot and leaves it on the ground. The quarterback never touches it. It’s obvious you’re extremely biased in your assessment of this game.

    • Quit whining?! What a jackass you must be! Everyone in the country that has seen this ending knows what you obviously are too ignorant to comment on at all. These referees should be demoted, if not completely removed from officiating any/all sporting events. So, schema, shut the hell up! Poor officiating in the past does not make a half-ass job Saturday night ok. Nit-wit!

  • Not a good ending to a hard fought game, but AS is and would have been the winner. The Wisconsin QB never touched his knee to the ground so the ball was live. AS recovered and the game would have been over after one snap. The announcers and officials blew the call, but the outcome was correct. Time and play should have beam stopped, an official review should have been enforced for possession and time on clock, and the result would have been that the Wisconsin QB’s knee hit his own player, but never hit the ground so when he placed the ball on the ground, the ball was live and recovered by AS. Game over. The issue is that the refs left the field without a sound resolution. They need to be reprimanded.

    • Rule 4, Section 1, Article 3(o): “A live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound his whistle or declare it dead … When a ball carrier simulates placing his knee on the ground.”

      A knee never has to touch the ground, that is what simulates means. The QB followed this rule. The referees did not blow the whistle as they should have according to this rule. The defensive player violated the delay of game rule. The referee even held up his hand to delay the snap even further. The referees then did run away from the mess they made and they should be demoted to division III or high school.

  • Well schema, you are obviously the most diluted person on the face of the earth…Do some fact checking before you post such garbage.

    • donkeyass –
      I’m dealing with dimwits – it’s deluded, not diluted. I can only assume you watch more than you read.

      • Your “Fumblerooski total misrepresentation is far worse than a typo schema. And why don’t you use a real name?

        • Ok, putting literacy aside, my last comment. The reason the fumblerooskie was outlawed was because placing the ball in front of him – as in the old fumblerooskie – was considered a forward fumble, and a forward fumble cannot be advanced. The QB CAN place the ball on the ground behind him, and the play remains live, and the clock continues to run. On this occasion, the QB places the ball on the ground in front of him, he did so by squatting rather than kneeling, and the ball is technically live – the clock continues to run – and the ball can be recovered by the defensive team – he fumbled, literally and figuratively. Had he taken a knee, the play would have been over and Wisconsin would have had a ticking clock and less than 15 seconds to run another play.

  • Why didn’t you post my prior comment? The PAC is a sac of shit.

    • Seriously, the QB places the ball in front of him…no taking a knee and the ASU treats it as a fumble, which he has been trained to do and DID do. This is a DUMB play by the Wisc. QB! Hey Buckey, you want a little swiss guda with that wine!

  • The correct call should have been delay of game on the defensive player who was laying on the ball. It was not a fumble! At the very least – the officials should have called an official’s time-out to sort out the play!!!

    Either way, the officials gave this game to ASU!!!

  • The runner is down when some part of his body other than his feet or hands touch the ground. Laying the ball on the ground while the clock is running is a live ball and can be covered by the defense. That is where the referee messed up. It should have been a turnover, plain and simple.

  • Quit Whining all you Wisconees………. Your QB don’t take a knee………. Which means Live Ball…..
    ASU recovers the Ball …Game Over………. ASU WINS..!!!!!!!!!

  • Replay has shown clearly that the QB knee was down, been watching football for many years and Ive never see a worse call. It is a shame, cause asu came back hard, the trouble is now we will never know.

    • What the HELL video are you watching John…I know a really good eye doctor for you…Holy crap… I looked the video at least 10 times and he squatted like he was going to take a dump, put the pearl on the turf and walked over to the ref…and said see, I gave myself up…that is a total cop out and since he simply left the ball in front of him, with no simulation, other than wanting to take a dump on the field…its a fumble…Oh, by theway Jon…seriously, no dog in the fight…I have my own issues as a Buff fan!

  • John, I’m not sure which replay you’re looking at, but Stave kinda crouches. He never takes a knee. Never even ‘simulates’ it (which really leaves room for interpretation, doesn’t it?) He bumps into his left guard, crouches and sets the ball on the ground then pops up. I like the comment above, where the refs should have called time out, reviewed the play and perhaps reset the clock, but if they did so, I feel they would have called it a fumble and ASU ball. I’m not a Wisconsin or ASU fan btw….

  • It was quick, but Stave’s right knee was absolutely down on the ground as shown in this photo. His left foot was off the ground at the time so it was not simulated, the right knee touches the ground.

  • The way this game was called by the refs is shameful. Anyone who has played knows that the inordinate amount of botched calls and the incorrect application of the rule book, is more than suspect. People need to remember that these are not professionals, they are kids and the refs should formally apologize to both teams for ruining this game. For all you ASU fans that think the QB’s knee never touched the ground, here’s your chance to do the right thing and admit you got a gift from the refs:

  • Brett

    This would have nothing to do with you being a Pitt fan and still being mad at Todd Graham for bailing on your Panthers for a better opportunity at Arizona State? That wouldn’t bias your comments at all would it? Pac or other conference refs blowing a call. Yeah, like that hasn’t happened before. Worst blown call ever? Really? Your bias is showing on that statement.


  • Peter/Thunder,

    I don’t really hold any hard feelings against Todd Graham anymore. Actually, when he first left, I was fine with it until I found out that he didn’t even tell the players, he just texted them from the plane. That’s classless and down right wrong if you ask me.

    It is one of the worst calls ever. Not sure how anyone could argue it wasn’t a blown call. If you want to argue that the runner was out the play before, fine, go ahead and do that. But to say that wasn’t a horrible call and on par with the “replacement ref” game last year in the NFL is just crazy.

    I would expect the referees will be punished for this game and if you want to call me bias, that is your opinion but I could care less how well Todd Graham does at Arizona State.

    • Brett

      Not saying it wasn’t a bad call, but worst ever? There have been alot of bad calls that were more meaningful than a early season game like this. Bad plays by Pac officials is a common issue. There was so much confusion on the play. It was a perfect example of one tiny thing leading to a sequence of other things. That one thing was the QB getting bumped by his lineman and not making it a very clear kneel down and then putting the ball on the ground while standing but doing so in a way that made it seem like it might be loose. That started the whole sequence. All things after that contributed to it but that was the first link in the chain. If he doesn’t do that, nothing else happens. That is the root cause of this issue. You made a quick analysis that was incomplete.
      The official who spots the ball looked very confused and seemed to be looking at the head Ref for a call on whose ball it was but didn’t get it until there were only a couple seconds left as the Wisc QB was talking to the REF. You can see the Ref finally points in the direction for Wisc and that then seemed to be the sign to the spot guy to give it to Wisc and he asks the ASU guy to get up which he then did. You shouldn’t call an official timeout there if the ball still belongs to Wisconsin as they had no timeouts left and it was their requirement (wisc) to get it downed to stop the clock. It is the officials job to spot the ball promptly but again, if the Wisc QB just gives the ball to the ref, none of this happens. The Refs blew it after the QB screwed it up but you made it sound different then the reality.
      A TO during the confusion would have given Wisc a chance to reset and they were not entitled to that without having a timeout. They created the sequence of events that led to this. Not syaing it is right but it is reality. Asking for a delay of game penalty would have been fair IF they thought the ball belonged to Wisc but the ball spotter didn’t know whose ball it was so he could not spot it until he knew. At that point he could have called time to sort it out but again would have been an advantage to Wisc and I would argue they didn’t deserve that since they had no TO’s left and the whole sequence started because their QB put the ball on the ground.
      We won’t even talk about why they needed to center this with that little time left on the clock and no timeouts. They were playing with fire to begin with. That is on the coach. 72K screaming fans on the road and only 18 seconds without a timeout left and you need to center the ball from short distance. Really. Bad call on his part.
      So, not saying it wasn’t a bad call but it is not so clear cut a screw up when you look at everything that happened. You made it seem like it was the blatent bad call by the officials but when you go through it step by step, it isn’t that cut and dry. The ASU guy didn’t blatently fall on the ball to make time pass but you indicated that. If the QB didn’t put the ball in front of him, he wouldn’t have fallen on it. Everything goes back to the actions of the QB. I don’t thnk you really went through it before you made a judgement and why I questioned whether there was bias in what you wrote.


  • 15 sconds whistle blows . At this point the ref should get the ball , spot said ball and sound whistle to start play . But the Ref lets the ASU D lay on the ball . Witch is delay of game . The D lineman was on the ball from 13 seconds to 4 seconds left . The ref then took his sweet ass time setting the ball. Holding up Wisconsin . The ref sounds start of play at 00 seconds. Then they run off the field . Such BS

  • Typical incompetent PAC 12 officiating. Now you see what we put up with every season.

  • Not even close to an Auburn-Georgia game in the 90’s when Georgia fell on a loose ball on their 1-yard line with 20 seconds left. The ball had been ruled down meaning Auburn retained possession. Georgia players refused to get up and their head coach (Ray Goff) was on the sideline in the end zone yelling for them to stay down. The refs shrugged their shoulders and let 18-19 seconds run off the clock while Auburn tried to get them to spot the ball. No repercussions to the officials whatsoever.

  • Why didn’t Stave just take a knee like any other normal person would have?? Why set the ball on the ground???

  • You people west of the Mississippi River are worth reading more often. Your argument is very entertaining and ridiculous. It was a horrible blown call but worst ever? Neither of your teams are going to make a Championship run so that limits your worst call ever opinion. I do feel bad for the badgers to go out without watching their “not very accurate” kicker do his best under immense pressure. Should the QB have handed the ball to the ref? Yes, but also there was plenty of reason to call defensive delay of game after the ref had blown the whistle and the ASU player reluctantly dives on top of the ball. Should have been able to watch the pressure kick and for that as a viewer I feel robbed… Blown call ruined what was a fun finish. Suspend the refs? Sure they deserve it, but in my opinion the underdog ASU boys out played the badgers for the majority of the game anyway.

    Keep up the entertaining posts!

  • Well I think its clear. All the professional say he was down and asu should have gotten a delay of game penalty. So all you that know all the rules and say it was the right out come should tell espn and all the other people that get PAID to watch tape and know the rules. There wrong. Lol what a bunch of homers.

  • I’ve seen the replay over and over again, and it one like, to me, that the Wisconsin QB wasn’t even attempting to put a knee down before he set the ball down. No doubt the NCAA will revise the rules on this.

  • I was at the game and near the 15 yard line during the mayhem. I have to say the PAC12 officiating crew was horrible throughout this game. Everybody on this forum seems to make the assumption that every player on the field seems to know the rulebook by heart. These guys play football, most aren’t Rhodes Scholars. It is quite likely the ASU defensive player clearly thought this was a live ball. So the idea that it may have been interpreted as being a purposeful delay is unlikely. He didn’t do it to delay the clock but rather he believed it was a live ball. Regardless, it would have been a defensive penalty.

    The QB could have actually knelt down, rolled over on the ground, or walked back and handed the ball to the ref and said “I’m giving myself up”. None of which happened. So again, maybe he didn’t know every word of the rule book and how best to handle this situation just like the defensive player. So although not punishable by rule certainly would add to all the confusion while precious few seconds roll off the clock. What coach calls a running play with no timeouts left and only :18 seconds left on the clock? Anything can happen, it’s been proven over and over for decades in this game. Not smart.

    I was always taught while playing sports that to win you play your hardest, play smart, and don’t put yourself in a position that “surprises” can happen. Wisconsin had scored a total of 93 total points in the two previous weeks of play while allowing 0 points against them. That’s how your guarantee a win. They came to Tempe and immediately showed they couldn’t stop ASU’s offense and got beat statistically on the field. Then used all their timeouts before needed in a close game. Had some very questionable calls go their way and some not go their way. In the end they lost because they were never in the position to make sure they would win. Happens every week at every level of play in every sport.

  • I’m from Michigan Wolverine Country, I think Wisconsin should win or have the game dropped from the books, like it never happened. Also every ref should be fined very heavily so this never happens again!

  • No one realized that in all this confusion, even if WU was able to attempt a FG, how do one know if it will be successful? The only one to know is God and he sure isn’t going to make amends for all the mistakes that were made in the game. What happened, happened. We are all still alive to live another day in the rest of our lives. PEACE to all.

  • Furthermore, I realize I’ve only been watching football for 40 years but I can’t recall a ball carrier with a live football just “placing” it on the turf. Assuming you have no timeouts with :18 seconds left…..what would be the quickest way to stop the clock and have it then spotted for the next play in the shortest amount of time? Kneel down and then hand the ball to the referee. Right? Wouldn’t that make the most since? What would a QB be thinking to do anything other than that? Why leave yourself no timeouts in a close scoring game?

    I hate the way this game ended but it’s played by humans and officiated by humans. Nothing ever goes perfectly. There are a lot of folks blaming the refs….okay I can see that but not just based on this play (just that they screwed up many calls both ways). Frankly, had there been no penalties called and the time clock managed perfectly by the officiating crew this game wouldn’t have been this close, ASU would have rolled. Many of you are blaming the ASU defense. Really? They were just playing football. There were 100 different ways Wisconsin could have handled what was happening on the field in the minutes previous to the game ending play. I don’t see a definite place to “blame” a loss here. Maybe one should just look at the game stats and the final score and accept what happens on a field.

  • Wisconsin has to move on and put this in the “we got hosed file” I’m really getting sick of the ASU whiners about Stave not taking a knee… There are several photos that clearly show the knee down… Then there is ASU fatty curled up on the ball…WTF I predict ASU loses at least 5 maybe 6 more games to Stanford. USC, Notre Dame, Washington, and probably Arizona or Oregon State and end up in the toilet bowl…. Wisconsin still has a shot at the Big Ten championship and I feel sorry for Purdue this weekend as the Badgers will get past this… They should have been prepared for the Pac 12 Officials sticking it in their ass….

    • You may indeed be right about ASU’s eventual fate. If Wisconsin had the same line-up of teams they would lose just as many. You shouldn’t be any too proud of playing in a championship division game when you play the likes of Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern…..really? Come on. The Akron Zips just showed last weekend how strong your “good” teams are. BTW, you forgot to mention The Oregon Ducks, who will blow ASU out! PAC 12 Football is only second in competitiveness to the SEC. Third would likely go to the Big 12. I do wish Wisconsin would keep Michigan and OSU in their place. Hate those teams, they’re WAY overrated!

      • Anybody happen to mention 32 first downs for ASU and 15 for Wisconsin? ASU deserved to win this game. If just for the Wisconsin receiver stepping out of bounds on an obvious play. ASU got hosed on an obvious out of bounds call. Wisconsin got their asses kicked all over the field and you people whine on .

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