The Strangest Play I’ve Ever Seen in Sports

I’d set the DVR to tape the UMiami football game, so I could fast-forward through all the commercials and endless huddles and timeouts. But the DVR failed to tape it, and so when I sat down to watch the game late last night, there was none. Instead I got to watch the last 5:20 of last night’s Miami-Duke game live. When I joined the action, Miami was up by 10, and busy folding like a house of cards, as Duke moved the ball downfield at will. At times, Miami’s defense couldn’t even get itself lined up before the snap. Touchdown Duke.

Miami had three disorganized, listless, confused downs of what might technically be called offense although it wasn’t all forward yardage, and then kicked the ball deep, with about 2 minutes left.

Again, Duke marched down the field, aided by a succession of in some cases clearly legitimate but in at least one case deeply questionable pass interference calls against Miami. Duke scores the go-ahead touchdown (not without doubt as to whether the football made it to the end zone, but it was impossible to say with certainty that it hadn’t from the replay, so the ref’s call was not overturned) with 0:06 left on the clock.

Then, Duke kicks – maybe an onside attempt as it rolls (and rolls) rather than flies. Miami grabs it. Eight — eight — lateral passes later, Miami scores.

Then the officials confer. There’s a flag, claiming a block in the back (replays showed it was a clearly legal side block); they take it back. But was one of the player’s knees down before he threw the ball? From the back it looks like yes; on the replay from a more front view it looks like no (which was the ruling on the field, from a ref with a good view). After much back-and-forth, the touchdown stands. (Another view of it all here.) Jubilation ensues.

Today I saw a still photo that sure looks like the knee was down; I can only say that on the replay last night it didn’t seem to be. The ACC now disagrees.

They’ll be arguing about this one for years.

Note: I changed the embedded video to get a bigger better picture; also this version has the audio we heard in the live version.

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