STILLWATER, Okla. — A mistake by the officials that extended the game when it should have been over allowed Central Michigan to score the winning touchdown on a Hail Mary and lateral for an astonishing 30-27 upset of No. 22 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Oklahoma State tried to kill the final 4 second of the game by throwing the ball away on fourth down, but the Cowboys were penalized for intentional grounding, which is a loss of down penalty. Rules state that the game cannot end on an accepted live-ball penalty, referee Tim O'Dey of the Mid-American Conference, CMU's league, said.
"There's an exception to the rule that says if enforcement of the foul involves a loss of down, then that brings the game to an end," O'Dey told a pool reporter after the game."
O'Dey said after conferring with NCAA rules committee secretary Rogers Redding after the game, the crew determined the "extension should not have happened."
But the final result stood. Article 3b of the NCAA rulebook states: When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final.
"Despite the error, this will not change the outcome of the contest," Bill Carollo, the NCAA's coordinator of football officials, said in a statement released by the MAC.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a text to the AP: "The game is final and errors can only be corrected during the course of the game. Very unfortunate."
Corey Willis scored the winning touchdown after grabbing a lateral from Jesse Kroll at the Oklahoma State 12.
Oklahoma State (1-1) thought it had won when Mason Rudolph threw the ball away on fourth down as the clock expired, but after the officials conferred, they assessed an intentional grounding penalty and gave Central Michigan another play.
"That's a tough one. Just so everyone knows, I was the one who called the passing play," said OSU coach Mike Gundy. "To be honest with you, I never even thought of intentional grounding being called at that point in the game. As much time as we put into end of game situations that never really crossed my mind. Unfortunately, that's a difficult way to learn a hard lesson."
Cooper Rush lofted up a Hail Mary pass that hit Kroll just inside the 10. As Kroll was being taken down, he pitched it back to Willis at about the 12, who cut across the field and barely managed to score while being dragged down.
"To be honest, I actually had a missed assignment on that, I wasn't supposed to be right there, but it all worked for the better," said Willis. "We know Jesse Kroll is going to go up and get the ball every time, it's just something we practice all the time and we executed it."
Coach John Bonamego said: "It's an improbable finish, but it's a situation that we practiced and rehearsed. We were able to execute and pull out the win."
Central Michigan fans might have been having flashbacks to the Bahamas Bowl from two seasons ago, when the Chips covered almost the length of the field on a long pass and lateral play to make it a one-point game with no time left against Western Kentucky. In that fabulous finish, Central Michigan went for 2 and the win and did not convert. This time around, the Chippewas (2-0) were able run off with one of their biggest victories ever.
Central Michigan: Never quit on the Chippewas.
Oklahoma State: Even with the crazy ending and a possible mistake by officials in awarding that last play, the Cowboys were hoping for a relatively easy win For the second straight season, CMU gave them all they could handle.
Central Michigan: The Chippewas return home to face UNLV.
OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowboys play their third straight home game, hosting Pittsburgh.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org