In what can only be described as one of the most incredible, yet head-scratching plays in recent college football history, Miami returned a kickoff with six seconds left to beat Duke 30-27.
After marching down the field with just under two minutes left and with the aid of a few pass interference calls, the Blue Devils went up 27 to 24 in what appeared to be a game winning drive.
Instead on the ensuing kick, Miami lateraled the ball 8 times on route to an unbelievable return for a touchdown. The only problem is based on the review it appeared that not only was a player down with the ball, that there were also some questionable blocks. One of the blocks clearly appeared to be a block in the back and following the touchdown a penalty was called.
After an initial review the officials marched out and said the play was still under review. When they returned from that review the announced that the block was legal and the game was over.
The justification given was that they picked up the flag per discussion, however, the flag wasn’t picked up until after the review meaning that the decision could have been a result of the review and a block in the back isn’t a reviewable and thus reversable call by the replay booth.
We may never know as the ACC office is likely to give the explanation that the penalty was picked up by the referees on the field per their discussion, however, the fact remains the one Miami player was down prior to a lateral making all of it a moot point.
Still the game goes down as a loss for Duke 6-2 (3-1 ACC) who fall behind North Carolina for first place in the ACC Coastal Division.
Despite the most frightening thing about Miami being their undisciplined brand of football 23 penalties for nearly 200 yards, Duke’s defense couldn’t stop new starting quarterback Malik Rosier or running back Joseph Yearby who had their way for a bulk of the game.
Thomas Sirk struggled to get the offense moving despite some glimpses, the consistency just wasn’t there for the Blue Devils’ offense. After failing to score on the goal line following an opening kickoff turnover, Duke’s offense continued to sputter and the Blue Devils went into the half down 14-3.
Duke fought back but Miami kept the Blue Devils at a distance until the final drive. Aided by penalties and a hurry up offense that saw Sirk find some rhythm throwing the ball, Duke marched down and took what appeared to be the go-ahead touchdown and two-point conversion.
That all changed after the miraculous return and touchdown by Corn Elder.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe after the game stated that he wanted the ACC to review the entire play which appeared to show at least one block in the back, a Miami player’s knee hitting the ground prior to a lateral as well as Miami player coming off the sidelines to celebrate prior to the completion of the play which is a penalty.
With none of those being called it is hard pill for the Blue Devils and their fans to swallow but it is one they will have to take. Duke heads to Chapel Hill next week to take on the Coastal leading North Carolina Tar Heels. A rivalry game that will have just a bit more importance this year.