TCU vs. Texas Tech: Did the Refs Screw the Horned Frogs?
Before going any further, the answer is yes. And then some.
There's weird. There's Lubbock weird. And then there's what happened Thursday night in Texas Tech's 20-10 over TCU. This was supposed to be a critical early-season game for the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders. Instead, officiating ended up becoming the biggest story of the night.
Yes, even bigger than OMG FOX ON THE FIELD.
The Horned Frogs played poorly, especially on offense. Gary Patterson's team, usually lauded for its discipline, had 13 penalties for 115 yards. Over half of those were false starts. Big plays, however few and far between, were called back for holding.
Trevone Boykin, who played so well last year and had been the more effective of TCU's two quarterbacks this season, lacked confidence early and struggled.
Even a sidelined Casey Pachall couldn't get out of the way of the dumpster fire.
Yeah, that kind of night.
Patterson didn't have much of a voice at halftime when ESPN's Samantha Ponder interviewed him going into the locker room. He probably won't have one at all when the night is all said and done.
And TCU deserves to be ripped into by their coach for the way they played. Heck, Patterson deserves some criticism of his own.
But the group that deserves as much flak as any was the one sporting black and white.
Let's start in the fourth quarter, when TCU wide receiver Brandon Carter was fielding a punt when he waved both of his arms. That's when things really got bizarre.
Carter caught the ball and ran it back for a touchdown that would have tied the game.
Instead, the officials called the punt back for an invalid fair catch. The reasoning was that, by waving his arms, Carter was intending to deceive the kicking team before running with the ball. And, in fact, one of Carter's arms is raised above his head.
You can be the judge as to whether that was what Carter was doing.
The Horned Frogs weren't the only team with a close call. On a would-be touchdown pass from Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb, running back DeAndre Washington pulled a DeSean Jackson and let go of the football right before he crossed the goal line. The ball was initially spotted at the half-yard line before an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed it back 15 yards.
Either way, Texas Tech maintained possession. And Patterson was perplexed.
Then, there was the 15-yard penalty for kick interference assessed against TCU late in the fourth quarter. Except there was no interference. One play later, Red Raiders running back Kenny Williams fumbled the ball and TCU recovered—except the referees blew the play dead early and Texas Tech maintained possession.
Tech then ran another play and TCU called a timeout, at which time the referees reviewed the fumble despite not being able to change the call. Ultimately, officials ruled the fumble was not a fumble. Even though it was a fumble.
Confused? So was everyone else.
Whether TCU deserved to win or not is irrelevant. It's the officials' job to get the call right. In many crucial moments Thursday night, they did not.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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