Ohio State did themselves no favors by settling for field goals on three deep drives into Clemson territory, early in their College Football Playoff match-up on Saturday night.
However, despite that, the Buckeyes were still very much alive late in the third quarter when a potential momentum changing play occurred that seemed to be exactly what Ohio State needed. With 4:45 remaining in the third quarter, Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross caught and fumbled a ball which was then picked up by OSU’s Jordan Fuller and returned for a touchdown.
Except, after the referee watched the replay, the call was overturned. The determination was made that “the ball was becoming loose in (Ross’) hands,” meaning the pass was incomplete.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 29, 2019
It’s pretty clear that Ross not only secures the ball in his hands, but takes three steps before the Ohio State defender pokes it loose. With the call on the field being a fumble returned for a touchdown and the mandate requiring definitive and conclusive evidence for overturning calls on the field, it’s frankly impossible to understand why this call was overturned.
It is certainly not conclusive that the ball was coming loose in Ross’s hands. In fact, the ball didn’t appear to be moving at all while it was trapped between the receiver’s hands. Whether the overturned call cost Ohio State the game is a question that will be debated for as long as there are debates. Though, there’s no debate that the video did not show conclusive evidence to overturn the call on the field and the inexplicably bad job by the refs should be something that concerns all fans, regardless of who they’re rooting for.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn