Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Forward progress? You make the call

It’s been a good 48 hours now and some Cal Poly football fans are still grumbling over a couple calls that took place late in Cal Poly’s 10-9 loss at Montana on Saturday.
Both the controversial plays took place on the Grizzlies’ game-winning drive, which was capped by Dan Carpenter’s 21-yard field goal with 5 seconds left.
As luck would have it, this highlight video courtesy montanagrizzlies.com and KPAX-TV just so happens to show both those plays back to back, so you be the judge. Did this group of Big Sky Conference officials make the right call?
Click here to start the video, which is designed for Windows Media Player on a PC. Skip to the 3:37 mark on the video to see the two plays, which are broadcast back to back with a replay in between.

The two plays in question:

  • The first was on second-and-five from the Grizzlies’ 15-yard line. Montana quarterback Josh Swogger hits Eric Allen down the Montana sideline for a 29-yard pass play. The Mustangs defenders think he’s out of bounds before he has possession. The Grizzlies players and coaches believe he made the catch while he has possession. If you pause the video as the receiver appears to make the catch, it looks as if he might just have that foot down in time … although from that angle there’s no way you can see if his toe is on the line or not.
The ruling: The officials ruled that Allen did in fact get a foot down in bounds while he had possession of the ball, giving the Grizzlies a first down.
  • The second play came later in the drive but is shown immediately after the first on the video. This one was Swogger’s 14-yard pass to Ryan Bagley on fourth-and-13. If Cal Poly denies Bagley the first down, Montana’s game-winning drive comes to an end. Bagley appears to make the reception just past where the first-down marker should be (around the Cal Poly 46) to the Mustangs’ 45 but backtracks in an attempt to pick up more yardage. It appears his first contact with a Cal Poly defender comes back shy of the 46-yard line.
The ruling: Officials determined that Bagley’s “forward progress” got him up to the Mustangs’ 45 where Montana was given a first down.

... Ten plays later, the Grizzlies won it on Carpenter's field goal.

• • •
When asked about the fourth-down play afterward, Cal Poly head coach Rich Ellerson (knowing Weber State coach Ron McBride was recently suspended by the Big Sky for criticizing officials) said his opinion on the play didn’t matter because “I don’t have a vote.”

Montana head coach Bobby Hauck also reserved judgment because he had “the worst seat in the house” for the play.

Bagley was a little more candid when asked about the play: “Yeah, I don't know what I was doing there. I knew I was wide open, and I figured I was far enough, and I was. I don't know why I was running backward. He gave me the spot, so whatever.”

• • •
Did the refs get it right? Post your thoughts by clicking the comments link below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched this game live and I was so surprised to see that they gave Montana the ball at the 45 on the 4th and 13 play. At best, Bagley just barely made it to the 46 yard line, because he wasn't even touched by the defenders until he went back a full yard. This was very poor officiating and cost Cal poly the game.