So... that happened. After a crazy series of laterals, Miami scored with no time remaining to take a 30-27 lead on Duke. Of course, the play was reviewed. But before the review, the officials announced that Miami had committed a block in the back penalty during the play.
After one review, the referee stated that the play was still being reviewed. After the full review, he announced that there was no knee down by a Miami player, but the block in the back had actually been from the side. Consequently the flag was picked up and Miami won.
The only problem: You can't do that.
That's Rule 12-3-6 of the official NCAA Football Rulebook for 2015. You'll see that it does allow for correction of "egregious errors" that are normally not reviewable. Mike Pereira says this is the rule that allowed them to overturn the call.
HOWEVER, there is a specific exclusion for reviewing penalties that are not otherwise allowed to be reviewed.
The six penalties that can be reviewed are:
- Forward pass beyond the neutral zone (12-3-2-c)
- Forward pass after change of possession (12-3-2-d)
- Illegal kicking beyond the neutral zone (12-3-4-b)
- Blocking on an onside kick before the ball goes ten yards (12-3-4-e)
- Number of players on the field when the ball is live (12-3-5-a)
- Targeting (12-3-5-f, which isn't listed in 12-3-6 but is specifically reviewable under Rule 12 more generally)
That's it. Block in the back is not a reviewable penalty. Miami may have won the game on Saturday, but the ACC should rule that, in fact, Duke wins on Monday.
Moreover, the call wasn't an egregious error.
AND, the officials missed a Miami player with a knee down with the ball in possession.
Was the ending awesome? Yes. Was it legal? No. And Duke should be awarded the win that the rulebook says they earned.
Apparently the outcome isn't going to change
Was told they'll seek an explanation, but the outcome of the game can't be changed. https://t.co/2GbIMBCI89— Adam Rowe (@BlueDevilLair) November 1, 2015
Pereira himself weighed in after giving it full consideration
Wow. I have been here at Fox looking at the Duke game and Duke got tricked on Hollween. No way that is a touchdown. I will explain.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 1, 2015
First, it does appear then there was a knee down based on some pictures that I have seen. It was close but it looked down.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 1, 2015
More importantly, they used replay to decide to pick up the flag for the block at the 25. Replay is not allowed to reveiw a call for that.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 1, 2015
Word is that crew made the decision but that is bogus as the referee called over the officials after going back to talk to replay a 2nd time— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 1, 2015
So the crew used replay to pick up the flag. The block,btw, was legal.But, the block at the 15 back upfield was a flagrant block in the back— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 1, 2015
Replay does have a rule that says replay can correct egregious errors excluding fouls that are not reviewable. Blocks in the back are not.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 1, 2015