One of the best things I've done this year is download a copy of the NCAA rulebook. I'll fully admit I don't know a lot of the nuances of the rules, but I have a handy guide to look them up now. It's been incredibly useful, and unfortunately I've needed it often this season.
Which brings me to my latest use for the rulebook. I didn't know if Marquess Wilson caught the ball in the end zone, which was hard to tell in the first place. More importantly, I didn't know where the ball should be spotted in a situation like the one that occurred near the end of Saturday's matchup with Utah.
Should Wilson have been spotted where he landed or was the spot supposed to be where he first established airborne possession, before he was contacted by a defender?
To refresh your memory, here's the play again:
Wulff spoke about the last-second catch by Wilson and the official's decision not to review it. His answer was summarized Vince Grippi.
Wulff mentioned he talked with the Pac-12 and the conference told him the replay official didn't see a reason to overturn the call in the waning seconds on the Wilson reception. He may have made the reception in the end zone, but his momentum carried him out and he landed where the ball was spotted.
And from the rulebook, a situation quite similar to the one Wilson faced on Saturday:
Airborne A1 receives a legal forward pass one yard within the opponent's end zone. As A1 receives the ball, he is contacted by B1 and first comes to the ground with the catch at the one-yard line, where the ball is declared dead. RULING: Touchdown (Rule 8-2-1-a).
On the play, Connor Halliday broke the pocket, triggering a scramble drill. Wilson, after trying to shake his man while running to the corner, worked back towards the ball and flashed open. Halliday fit the ball into the window, but Wilson was forced to leave his feet, diving somewhat parallel to the plane of the end zone.
Wilson was then contacted by a defender, altering his path and knocking him to about the one yard line, where he landed. The decision one has to make when determining whether the play should result in a touchdown or not is whether Wilson's momentum carried him out of the end zone or whether contact from a defender did. Simply, where would he have landed without the contact?
Odds are the call stands because the evidence wasn't conclusive enough to overturn the ruling on the field. But the replay official saying he didn't see a reason to at least take the time to watch it again is absolutely ridiculous. And you know what? I'm not surprised. Watching enough Pac-12 football will desensitize you like that.