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In general, college football lore comes with controversy attached

in Sports/Top Headlines by

When trying to decide if the University of Miami deserved its victory over Duke Saturday night, keep this in mind: College football history is filled with controversy.

This time, the ACC came down on the side of Duke when it quickly suspended the officials for two games, saying that a UM player was down, and that a UM player ran onto the field. Either one of those calls would have negated a historic return by Corn Elder.

But this isn’t the first time that controversy has been in the middle of a great play.

Remember “The Prayer in Jordan-Hare” in 2013, when the Tigers returned a missed field goal by Alabama for the winning touchdown?

Alabama fans have maintained that returner Chris Davis of Auburn was out of bounds as he returned the kick, even though replays do not show his foot over the line. Still, hundreds of Tide fans signed a petition alleging that the teams should have been forced to play an overtime period.

And how about The Play, a five-lateral kickoff return by Cal though the Stanford band to score the winning touchdown in 1982. Stanford fans still argue that on the third lateral, Dwight Garner’s knee was down and that the fifth lateral was forward.

Then there was the fifth down play, when Colorado beat Missouri in 1990.

The point is, there are not many plays in college football – especially game-winning plays that involve several ball carriers – that can withstand the scrutiny of referees – the conference officials – evaluating every play. It’s like negating a Hail Mary pass because a quarterback stepped over the line.

In Duke, they feel robbed. That’s understandable. But it’s also understandable, in a season that has gone wrong, if Miami celebrates a play that turned out right.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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