What was a dominating offensive output by #25 California was a much closer battle than expected. Especially with the way #17 Stanford has been playing with the punishing rushing of Toby Gerhart. This battle had a huge game changing play in the 4th quarter that completely turned the tides.
On 3rd and 10 from their own side of the 50, Kevin Riley dropped back to pass and waited. He then rolled left and threw the ball down the field to the sidelines where his receiver "caught" the ball. Or did he?
The play was reviewed and shown from many angles, most of which showed that the receiver had the ball with barely one foot in bounds. But that was not the issue. From the angle that was perpendicular to the sideline facing the Stanford bench from California's side it was very obvious that when the receiver hit the ground the ball moved and slid on the ground as he rolled over it before the receiver gained control of the ball again. Of course he jumped up and held the ball up high as a way to say he caught it. In order for it to be a completion the receiver must first get one foot, knee, or elbow in bounds and if the play is continued out of bounds the receiver must maintain control of the ball the whole time. This clearly did not happen.
I saw the white spiral marks on the ball rotate as the ball slid on the ground, which clearly demonstrated that the receiver did not maintain possession of the ball after hitting the ground out of bounds. Therefore it should have been ruled and incomplete pass and the ruling on the field overturned.
I just don't understand how I, a spectator, could spot something that the trained replay booth officials missed over and over again. The only think I can think of is that they did not look at the shot of the camera that had a perfect angle of the ball moving on the ground. If that is the case then it is ridiculous that they did not look at it from every angle. If they did look at it from all the possible angles, then they really made a big mistake.
This 1st down conversion allowed the Golden Bears to continue their drive and get the go ahead touchdown. Sure the Stanford Cardinals had a great opportunity from inside the red zone with time running out to win the game, but that was taken away by a costly interception. Either way, this missed call cost Stanford a chance at the PAC-10 Title, and a trip to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.