The Central Michigan Chippewas snatched a 30-27 upset win against the No. 22-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys out of thin air with a 51-yard score on the last play of the game Saturday. Corey Willis took a lateral pass nine yards into the end zone after Cooper Rush hit Jesse Kroll for the first 42 yards.
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The play came after Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was called for intentional grounding on fourth down while the Cowboys were trying to run out the clock to end the game.
Mike Pereira, who serves as a rules analyst for Fox Sports, said the final untimed down Central Michigan received shouldn't have counted:
Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated provided a statement from the MAC:
Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report provided a statement from Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder as well:
On Sunday, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy also issued a statement, via Sailee:
On Sunday, the MAC suspended the officiating crew for two games because of the botched decision at the end of the contest, per Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press. The Big 12 also suspended the replay crew for two games, per Jake Trotter of ESPN.com.
Oklahoma State's plan backfired, with a big assist going to the officials for their blunder, but even with the untimed down taking place when it shouldn't have, Central Michigan still had to execute a miraculous play to win the game.
Kyle Fredrickson of the Oklahoman noted Oklahoma State's media relations got in touch with officials, who are trying to determine the next steps after the referees made the incorrect call.
The Cowboys have long had defensive issues, which cropped up again in this game. They let Rush torch them for 361 yards and four touchdowns.
Per ESPN.com's Ted Miller, Central Michigan's win marked its first over a ranked opponent in more than two decades:
There's more history, as ESPN Stats & Information noted Oklahoma State entered play Saturday with the Big 12's best record against opponents not ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (47-5).
Oklahoma State started the game appearing as if it would cruise to victory, jumping out to a 14-0 lead with two touchdowns late in the first quarter.
Central Michigan responded with 10 points in the second quarter, cutting its deficit to 17-10 at the break. The Chippewas tied the game after Rush hit Tyler Conklin for a five-yard score, but Oklahoma State regained the lead on its next possession with a 35-yard field goal from Ben Grogan.
The fourth quarter featured three lead changes with the two teams exchanging touchdowns three times in the final 10 minutes, capped off with the Hail Mary to end the game.
Things were so chaotic at the end that even Central Michigan's official Twitter thought the game was over before Oklahoma State was called for intentional grounding:
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports believes Central Michigan should take advantage of this moment to get in on the Big 12's expansion plans:
The Chippewas are 2-0 after their win on Saturday, which is more than Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be able to say after their first two games of the season.
SB Nation captured an image of stunned Oklahoma State fans in the stands at Boone Pickens Stadium after the final Chippewas touchdown:
For Central Michigan, this win is huge for the program because Oklahoma State is currently the only ranked team on its schedule in 2016. Escaping Stillwater with a victory provides it with an excellent opportunity to win more than seven games in a season for the first time since 2009.
Oklahoma State gave a game away as it enters the first difficult stretch of its schedule with Pittsburgh, Baylor and Texas on tap in the next three weeks. The Cowboys can blame the officials for botching one call, but if you want to be a conference title contender, there's no reason to let Central Michigan hang around on your home field.
Per Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World, Gundy took responsibility for the team's final offensive play call and everything that happened afterward:
Gundy is taking a politically correct stance because selling out his players would do no good and criticizing the officials would result in a fine. However, no one would blame him for going on a tirade for how things ended.
Not surprisingly, Central Michigan coach John Bonamego said on the ESPN broadcast after the game (via ESPN.com's Sam Khan Jr.) that he was not going to speak about the controversial call: "I'm going to leave that alone. We had a play, we executed, end of story. I'll leave it for everybody else to discuss."
Mid-American Conference referee Tim O'Dey explained what happened and what the officials got wrong (via Khan):
There's a rule that says that the game cannot end on an accepted live ball foul. That's the rule. 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.
So in that situation, we've had the opportunity to run it back through our hierarchy, which includes the national rules editor, and he confirmed that should have been a loss of down and the end of the game at that point, so that extension should not have happened.
Per Khan, Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said he was "told there is nothing that could be done...but that doesn't mean that I have to agree with it."