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On further review, glitch affected Rose Bowl replays

November 11, 2006|David Wharton | Times Staff Writer

Texas' first touchdown against USC in the 2006 national championship game at the Rose Bowl should have been overturned, but replay officials had the wrong television feed plugged into their monitor.

The play occurred in the second quarter of what was a last-minute, 41-38 victory for the Longhorns. Running downfield, quarterback Vince Young was hit by a defender and lateraled to teammate Selvin Young, who sprinted the remaining 12 yards to the end zone, giving his team a 9-7 lead.

The touchdown stood, even though one replay angle -- seen by television viewers but not officials -- showed that Young's left knee touched the ground before he released the ball.

During the game, David Parry, the Big Ten and national coordinator of officials, told The Times through a spokesman that he would not comment.

But Pacific 10 Conference officials said Friday that when they inquired after the play, Parry soon told them there was a problem with the replay setup.

"We weren't in charge of replay at the Rose Bowl," said Jim Muldoon, the Pac-10's associate commissioner. "There was nothing we could do to change that."

The glitch was fixed soon after.

It might also have influenced an earlier call in which Reggie Bush tried to lateral to a teammate and Texas recovered. Bush's lateral might have traveled forward, in which case USC would have been penalized but would have maintained possession in Texas territory.

The ultimate effect of these rulings -- both early in the game -- is debatable. If Young had been ruled down, Texas still would have had first and 10 on the USC 12-yard line.

But the rulings returned to the spotlight Friday after separate reports by and the Associated Press.

Parry told AP that replay officials did not receive the camera angle that definitively showed Young's knee down -- even as ABC was showing it to the rest of the nation. In fact, he said, the officials told him one of their feeds showed fans in the stadium.

In the resulting confusion, play was allowed to continue with Texas missing an extra-point attempt, and by the time replay officials got the correct feed, it was too late.

Speaking to the earlier Bush lateral, Parry told AP: "It was a very close call, and they did not have indisputable evidence to overturn it."

Even after the feed was corrected, replay produced another controversial ruling. Early in the fourth quarter, a Young pass to Jamaal Charles was called incomplete on the field. Replays seemed to indicate that Charles had possession of the ball, then fumbled, with USC recovering.

The play stood and Texas subsequently kicked a 34-yard field goal to trim USC's lead to 31-26 with 8:46 left.

On the eve of tonight's game between USC and Oregon at the Coliseum, USC Coach Pete Carroll declined to comment.

Muldoon said the Pac-10 did not seek to take any official action in response to the rulings.

Earlier this season, Pac-10 replay officials came under fire for a controversial call involving an onside kick in Oregon's comeback victory over Oklahoma.

"You have to remember, [replay] is about a year and a half old," Muldoon said. "There are bound to be some problems."


Times staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this report.

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