As I pointed out in my previous blog entry, Indiana was denied a chance to put together a game-winning or tying drive in Ann Arbor today by an unfortunate stroke of incompetence.
Indiana receiver Demarlo Belcher hauled in a pass from Ben Chappell with just over two minutes to play and Michigan leading 36-33. Michigan defender Donovan Warren arrived at the same time as the ball, and wrapped up Belcher and part of the ball, then came away with it on the ground and officials ruled it an interception. Hoosier coach Bill Lynch went ballistic, and the play went to a replay review.
While the ESPN2 announcers were unanimous that the play was, at best, simultaneous possession — which would mean the offense maintains possession — and while any reasonable person watching the same replay would agree, apparently the replay booth and on-field officials could not make the same determination.
You have to wonder why these calls always go in favor of the big boys. Why they never break in favor of the underdog, of the unranked team.
No doubt, the Big Ten thinks it’s unfair to question the integrity of its officiating in such a way.
This call only looks worse in retrospect.
Read this postgame quote from Warren, provided by The AP:
“We both rolled over on the ground and I out-tugged him for it,” Warren said. “I just read the route, broke on the ball, read the quarterback’s eyes and made the play.”
So Warren says he out-tugged Belcher for the ball on the ground.
This is an admission that both players had possession of the ball after they were on the ground. If there had been no simultaneous possession, there would have been no need to tug the ball away.
It’s worth pointing out, Michigan had the lead. There’s no guarantee Indiana could have tied or taken the lead on this possession. The Hoosiers didn’t make the most of their red zone chances all day.
But they were deprived of one last chance they should have had.