(Written by Ken Crawford)
I am not one who feels questioning the refs is out of bounds, as I frequently comment on their performance. However, I think the outrage over the no-touchdown call at Notre Dame is pretty ridiculous.
First, was it reasonable that the on-the-field ref didn’t call it a touchdown? Of course it was. Taylor was stopped, rolled to the side and didn’t really look like he had reached as far as he had. Most of us thought he didn’t get in on first watch. It wasn’t until we saw a replay we thought he might have got in.
So the fact that it went to the booth called a non-touchdown shouldn’t outrage anyone.
Now, when it goes to the booth, there must be UNDISPUTED evidence to overturn the call. With that in mind, I ask you to watch the following youtube clip, starting at the 14 second mark and watch the LEFT ELBOW of Taylor:
As Taylor extends his body forward at the 18 second mark, the front of his body falls toward the turf. Between the 20 and 21 second mark, his fall is halted, his upper.right elbow jerks downward and his body bounces. At this point, the ball is clearly not over the goal line. He then reaches forward and places the ball over the goal line.
I submit to you that his left elbow hits the ground at that moment, when his fall was halted.
Now, you can’t see the elbow either in this angle or the higher on from the same size, because it is obscured by a Notre Dame player’s calf. Is it possible the bounce is from something else and his elbow didn’t touch?
Yes, it is.
But the burden of proof is on the other side, and it’s very reasonable to say his elbow hit right there, and that without proof to the contrary, then he’s down before the reach forward with the ball. And I’d go even further than the burden of proof to say it is more likely than not. There’s no other explanation I can see of why he bounced like that. He bounced because the elbow touched.
This was no egregious call. Ted Miller, the guys on the Pac-12 network including Neuheisel, and others have been ranting and raving about this call as if the video evidence is conclusive. It’s not. It was a marginal call that could have gone either way and is very defensible being called down.
But, by all means, since we’re playing Stanford on Saturday, keep this going. I’d like Stanford to be consumed by this call for the next 6 days until they have something new to complain about Saturday evening.