Gophers’ rival Wisconsin loses on controversial call

Jack Satzinger


Redshirt sophomore Joel Stave has been at the helm of Wisconsin's offense for just a few weeks and yesterday he made a huge mistake.[1]

The Badgers trailed Arizona State 32-30 with 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter and had the ball on the Sun Devils’ 13-yard line. It was first down. All Stave had to do was take a knee and let the clock run down before Wisconsin spiked the ball with a few seconds left, then let the field goal unit trot out to ice the game.

Probably wary of getting off two plays with no timeouts left and just 18 seconds on the clock, the Badgers elected not to take a knee. Instead, first year head coach Gary Andersen elected for a haphazard play where Stave ran toward the left sideline before being tripped up by an offensive lineman.[2]

Looking flustered by the play breaking down, Stave (without getting touched by a defender) simply placed the ball on the 15-yard line. Thinking the clock had been stopped, Wisconsin’s players came back to the line ready for the next play as Sun Devils piled onto the ball, thinking it was a fumble.

It was not ruled a fumble, but the clock continued to run and the Badgers were unable to spike the ball before the game ended.

Minnesota coordinators' take 

After playing a game of their own, Minnesota’s offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys admitted that they were unable to watch the controversial call live, but they looked at the film this morning and provided an interpretation.

Claeys said that if Stave had spiked the ball normally instead of placing it on the turf, the call wouldn’t have been in the officials’ hands.

“I’ve never seen someone try and down a ball that way,” Limegrover said.

Stave has only started a handful of games at the Big Ten level. Same for the now-injured Philip Nelson of the Gophers. Mitch Leidner, who could get the nod next week against San Jose State, has never started for the Gophers.

No matter who starts, Minnesota will look at Stave’s mistake and make sure their young quarterbacks don’t do the same in a critical game down the road.

Miss the play? Watch it here.

[2] Almost another butt fumble.