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.