Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tech Sneaks Past OU

I was screaming at my television, “Watch the Draw! Watch the Draw!” I saw it coming and so did OU linebacker Rufus Alexander. Alexander seemed to make the tackle on Texas Tech running back Taurean Henderson, and then came the stretch. Henderson wisely stretched the ball across the goal line. Henderson appeared to be down before he stretched the ball across the goal line but referees saw it differently, if they saw it at all.

It was side judge Scott Koch who gave the touchdown to Henderson, only after running around OU cornerback DJ Wolfe and poking his head into the pile. OF COURSE THE BALL WAS ACROSS THE GOAL LINE BY THEN! This call should have been made by the umpire Steve Storie who was right in the middle of the action. Storie made no touchdown signal meaning he didn’t see the ball cross the goal line. If the side judge is going to make that call then he has to make it when the running back goes down, not after he has run into the pile and investigated. It was a bad end to a badly officiated game.

Give Texas Tech credit for holding the Sooner offense in check most of the first three quarters. Give Taurean Henderson credit for running crazy a week after OSU held him to minus yards. Give Texas Tech credit for putting together a game winning drive with seconds left on the clock. Give Mike Leach credit for a gutsy call as time expired. And give OU credit for getting hosed!

There were three plays reviewed in the final 30 seconds of the game two of the three went against OU despite the evidence on the replay.

• First, Tech receiver Danny Amendola came down with a deflected 4th down jump ball on the OU 24, a yard shy of the first down. The officials spotted the ball at the 23 and even when the replay showed him down on the 24 it was not overturned.
Second, Tech receiver Joel Filani bobbled the ball through the side of the end-zone and the play was called a touchdown. Replay did go the Sooners way this time but why was this called a touchdown in the first place? It wasn’t even close. This is where the officials messed up and what cost the Sooners the game. If they get this call right then the goal line play doesn’t happen.
• Finally, Henderson’s touchdown.

The Sooners had a gut check in the fourth quarter after Tech went up 17-7. OU responded with an 89-yard drive and scored on a 13-yard TD pass from Rhett Bomar to Malcolm Kelly to make the score 17-14. On their next possession OU took the lead when Adrian Peterson ran 13 yards for a score to cap a 51-yard drive.

Then came the drama as Tech got the ball for their game winning drive. There is no doubt that both teams left it all on the field. Too bad we can’t say the same thing about the refs.