Ann Arbor — A quick note regarding Michigan’s first touchdown in Saturday’s 35-21 MSU victory at Michigan Stadium.
U-M quarterback Steven Threet hit U-M running back Brandon Minor in the first quarter for what turned out to be a 19-yard touchdown pass. The referee called the pass incomplete, ruling that Minor was out of bounds.
The play was reviewed and overturned by the referee crew in the press box to make the score 7-7 after U-M connected on the extra point.
According to rule 421b in the NCAA rule book, “a player or an airborne player who touches a pylon is out of bounds.”
Therefore, the referee made the correct call on the field, and it shouldn’t have been overturned.
After the game, Associated Press reporter Scott Held talked to referee David Witvoet regarding the official ruling:
Here’s an official transcript of the conversation between Held and Witvoet, according to Michigan’s athletic communications department.
Held: On Michigan’s first touchdown can you clarify why that was ruled a touchdown?
Witvoet — “The player caught the ball, the player possessed the ball in the air, hit the pylon, was out of bounds.”
Held: Here’s the rule … “Based on rule 421b, the player is out of bounds when he catches a pass in the air and touches a pylon first. He’s out of bounds.
Held: So he was awarded a touchdown.
Witvoet: “That is correct. That’s what happened on the play. The play was, he caught the ball in the air, touched the pylon first, and was out of bounds. It was subsequently ruled a touchdown. That’s what happened.”
Held: Yet that contradicts the rule.
Witvoet: “I’m telling you, that’s what happened on that play. More than that, I can’t really tell you anything else. All I can tell you, is that’s what happened, and that’s what subsequently was ruled.”
The press box officiating crew declined comment following the game, deferring all questions to the Big Ten officials.