Year in Review: Syracuse extra point debacleWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the memorable moments from Toledo in 2011 came from the world of sports where the Rockets faced one of the most bizarre situations in college football.
With Toledo on the road at Syracuse, UT held the lead until the Orange threw an 18-yard touchdown to take a 29-27 lead with 2:07 remaining in the game. Syracuse then kicked the extra point, which went wide to the left of the goal post. Unfortunately for the Rockets, not only did the official rule it good, but the play went to the review booth where the replay officials upheld the call despite video evidence proving otherwise. Down three points, Toledo drove down and kicked a game-tying field goal as time expired, one that would have given UT a 30-29 victory without the botched call. The Rockets ended up falling in overtime 33-30.
Following the game Sept. 24, Big East Director of Communications Chuck Sullivan released a statement claiming that the replay official “mistakenly focused his attention on a sideline angle, which proved to be distorted” and that he was “confident that our officiating staff will learn from this situation in order to prevent a reoccurrence.”
UT head coach Tim Beckman followed that announcement with an email to Sullivan asking what plans the conference had for correcting the situation.
“This is an incorrect call, so what is getting done about it?” Beckman wrote. “Admitting is one thing, correcting is another. I believe in the end of the regulation, the score 30-29 is the right call.”
Although Toledo appealed the decision, citing special circumstances since the Rockets’ field goal was kicked as time expired in regulation, their request for a reversed outcome was not granted. Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher released a statement Sept. 26 claiming that NCAA rules say a game’s outcome cannot be changed once the game is deemed officially over.
“Since the conclusion of the Toledo-Syracuse game, I have been in communication with Big East Commissioner, John Marinatto, along with Rogers Redding, Secretary-Rules Editor of the NCAA Football Rules Committee,” Steinbrecher wrote. “By rule, once the game is declared over the score is final and there is no recourse to reverse an outcome. (Rule 1, Section 1, Article 3, Paragraph b of the 2011 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations.)
“I share the frustration and regret with our Toledo coaches, student-athletes, administration and supporters of the Rockets football program.”
Toledo Athletic Director Mike O’Brien released a statement later that day, that said while UT still feels like the officiating error cost them a victory, the school has accepted the ruling that the game’s outcome cannot be changed.
“While we are obviously disappointed for the student-athletes, coaches and fans that an officiating error played a role in the outcome of our football game at Syracuse, we accept the ruling from the Big East and the NCAA Football Rules Committee that the final outcome of the game cannot be reversed,” O’Brien said. “We appreciate the efforts of those who looked into this matter. We consider the matter closed.”
“I give them credit for standing up,” Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. “In this game there is human error. Coaches know it as well as anyone. Everyone that is involved in this game I feel awful for them. I know how much they must be hurting.”
The Rockets finished the season at 8-4 and earned a bid to play Air Force in the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 28.