PULLMAN – A lapse from the officiating crew caused Washington State to bypass second down on an offensive drive midway through the second half of Saturday’s game against No. 15 Oregon at Gesa Field, prompting a reaction from those watching the national FOX broadcast.
From Oregon’s 41-yard line, Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward attempted to escape the pocket before throwing out of bounds and being penalized for intentional grounding, bringing up what should’ve been second-and-18.
Instead, officials signaled third down and a draw play to running back Nakia Watson went just one yard, forcing the Cougars to bring out punter Nick Haberer.
In videos posted to social media, WSU coach Jake Dickert can be seen holding up two fingers to officials, suggesting Watson’s play came on second down rather than third.
“We knew the down was wrong, we told them and I think they said they were going to review it but they let the play run,” Dickert said. “But I give them credit for, even after we punted – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that, after a possession to come back and run the play to get it right. They were dedicated to get it right, they admitted their mistake and we moved on.”
After Haberer punted, the officiating crew huddled to review the sequence and ultimately called WSU’s offense back out to the field. The Cougars gained just six more yards during Watson’s run play on third-and-17 before punting on fourth-and-11.
The officiating blunder quickly spread on social media, prompting fans to post tweets using the widely-popular “#Pac12Refs” hashtag.
“I was disappointed in the moment,” Dickert said. “I told them to review it. So they got it corrected, it messed with the flow of the game and how we called that situation. But at the end of the day we got it right.”
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