If you've never experienced the magic that is #Pac12AfterDark, last night's triple overtime thriller between the Oregon Ducks and Arizona Sun Devils was about as wild as #Pac12AfterDark gets, and that's saying something. It was Oregon's first triple overtime game since 1999, and they nearly didn't come out of it alive.
Luckily, the Pac-12 refs screwed up a review that helped the Ducks to a 61-55 win over Arizona State on Thursday night in Tempe.
As the two teams battled it out in overtime, we reached the third overtime in which both teams now had to go for two after scoring. No extra points allowed. Vernon Adams hit Bralon Addison in the back of the end zone, and after a lengthy discussion, two Pac-12 refs raised their arms in unison, signaling a touchdown. Fans immediately began booing the officials, and they had every right to, because Bralon Addison wasn't inbounds.
Football is a game of inches. If you make a leaping grab that defies the laws of physics while getting 99% of your foot inbounds, guess what? All that effort was for nothing because you wear a size 13 shoe instead of a size 12.5.
After a lengthy review and seeing several angles of Addison's catch, it appeared that the front of his shoe was out of bounds. It wasn't 100% clear, but I was about 97% certain that he was out of bounds. As a matter of fact, I was shocked when the refs ruled that it was indeed a touchdown. Because from the angles we saw (the same ones the refs saw), Bralon Addison was out of bounds.
If you zoom in on that photo, it appears that the very front of Addison's shoe is out of bounds. Had this initially been called an incomplete pass, it likely would have stayed that way. But since the play was originally ruled a touchdown, there was simply not enough conclusive video evidence to overturn the call.
You know how this story ends. Oregon goes for two and fails miserably because they put a wide receiver at quarterback and he dropped a perfectly good snap, but somehow the defense comes up with an interception in the end zone on ASU's next possession to seal the win. #Pac12AfterDark, y'all.
Am I thankful the refs botched this review? Of course. Now, the Ducks are 5-3 on the year and finally won back-to-back games while Arizona State dropped to .500 and 2-3 in Pac-12 play, left wondering what their season could have been. Considering how the Pac-12 has been this year, it's not out of the question for Oregon to make a run at the Pac-12 title game. Is it likely? No. They would need Stanford AND Washington State to lose a pair of games while also winning out. But hey, crazier things have happened.
If the Ducks do indeed go on some kind of miracle run and wind up playing in the Pac-12 title game with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line, we will look back to this night and quietly salute the Pac-12 officiating crew who wrapped up this win for Oregon and delivered it in a festive gift basket.