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A Critical Review of Instant Replay

September 17, 2006|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

The NCAA is using instant replay reviews throughout Division I-A this season, and it played a significant role Saturday in two games between top-25 teams.

Sixth-ranked Louisiana State lost, 7-3, to No. 3 Auburn after replay officials overturned a pass-interference call on Auburn in the waning moments and No. 15 Oklahoma lost, 34-33, to No. 18 Oregon after the Ducks recovered a disputed onside kick and then scored.

Oklahoma argued that an Oregon player touched the onside kick before it traveled the required 10 yards and replays seemed to confirm that, but the replay officials let Oregon keep the ball.

At Auburn, Louisiana State faced a fourth and eight from the Auburn 31 with 2 minutes 43 seconds remaining. LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell launched a pass toward the goal line, where receiver Early Doucet was cutting across the field.

Auburn defender Eric Brock dove and tipped the ball away, but Auburn's Zack Gilbert apparently grabbed Doucet before the ball arrived and was called for pass interference.

After a review, officials reversed the call and Auburn took over on downs.

"The explanation was not readily forthcoming," Louisiana State Coach Les Miles said. "I know the rule. If the ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage, there is no pass interference. The ball was tipped downfield."

At Oregon, the Ducks trailed, 33-27, with 1:12 left when they recovered the onside kick, then scored the go-ahead points with 46 seconds to play.

Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops did not comment on the call, but his shaking head spoke volumes.

"We did a lot of good things, but, obviously, not enough," Stoops said. "We came up one point short."

At least one top-25 team was happy with the new instant replay rule Saturday. At Boston College, officials used replay review to verify Jamie Silva's game-ending interception, which was first ruled an incomplete pass. The No. 23 Eagles defeated Brigham Young, 30-23, in double overtime.

"Thank God we have replay this year," said Boston College Coach Tom O'Brien, who became the school's all-time leader in coaching victories with 69.

Can You Say Irony?

The punting game might be in shambles after a bizarre, controversial week at Northern Colorado, but the rest of the special teams seem to be intact.

The Bears, who lost starting punter Rafael Mendoza when he was allegedly stabbed by backup Mitch Cozad and lost Cozad after the school suspended him for the incident, defeated Texas State, 14-13, Saturday.

The winning score came on -- you guessed it -- a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown.

"I don't even know what to say about that," Coach Scott Downing said.

Jason Hildenbrand, a strong safety, took on punting duties for Northern Colorado during the first three quarters -- until he got injured on the field. By the end of the game, the Bears were using fourth-string kicker Michael York, whose first punt traveled a wobbly seven yards.

Sign of Things to Come?

All the attention in the Southeastern Conference was on Auburn, LSU, Florida and Tennessee, and rightly so, but it would be a mistake to overlook Georgia.

The Bulldogs, ranked No. 10, have played in three of the last four SEC championship games, winning the title in 2002.

They are also on a roll. Their 34-0 rout of Alabama Birmingham was their second consecutive shutout, a feat they haven't performed since 1980.

That also happened to be the last year they won a national title.

"Those boys are playing lights out," center Nick Jones said. "We see them in practice every day, so we know they're good. Back-to-back shutouts just shows everybody else how good they are."

With a Heavy Heart

Iowa junior linebacker Mike Klinkenborg made an emotional return to the field Saturday and helped lead No. 16 Iowa to a 27-17 victory over Iowa State.

Last Sunday, his father died of an apparent heart attack. Saturday, Klinkenborg had eight tackles as he helped the Hawkeyes rally from a 14-3 deficit against their rivals.

"The whole time I was thinking about him," said Klinkenborg, fighting back tears after the game. "I just wanted to get the win for him."

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz lost his father during the 2004 season, and said during the last week that his main concern was Klinkenborg and his family.

"I know Mike's father is looking down and smiling right now, very proud of what Mike's doing on the football field," Ferentz said.

Klinkenborg spent three days last week tending to family matters. After consulting with his family, he returned to the Hawkeyes on Thursday.

"It's what my dad would want me to do," Klinkenborg said.

Carrying the Load

Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson had 34 carries for 211 yards in the loss to Oregon, giving him 90 carries for 522 yards.

Only one other Oklahoma running back -- Allen Patrick, who had one carry for one yard Saturday -- has touched the ball this season.

Oklahoma has 107 rushing attempts this season. Quarterback Paul Thompson has 13 and receivers Fred Strong and Juaquin Iglesias each have one on reverses.

Upset du Jour

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