Among the ACC Twitterati we often use the hashtag #goacc in a self-deprecating way to talk about all weird plays, total incompetence by the officials and stuff that just has no other way to describe.
This play was probably the most #goacc play in the history of hashtag.
To set the stage, Duke trailed Miami 24-12 with six minutes left in the game. The Blue Devils scored to cut the lead to 24-19. Miami failed to get a first down, Duke used up its timeouts and got the ball at the 25 with two minutes left to try and win the game. Duke managed to work its way down the field thanks in large part to three pass interference penalties called on Miami. Those calls were certainly questionable as was Thomas Sirk's one yard touchdown run where the officials said he broke the goal line but there was no angle to review.
Anyway, Miami trailed 27-24 after a Duke two point conversion and with just six seconds left needed a miracle on the order of Cal-Stanford, Auburn-Alabama, Michigan-Michigan State or FSU-Georgia Tech. It got it but not without a massive controversy that the ACC won't have an easy time quelling.
After the play was over there block in the back called which would have nullified the touchdown but the play was under review..for nine freaking minutes. At one point the official started to explain the play but stopped to say the review was still ongoing. After the review, the explanation given was the play was good. There were no down knees, all the laterals were backwards and that block in the back? It was a hit in the side and therefore legal. The touchdown was good and Miami won 30-27 sending Duke to 3-1 in the ACC. UNC is now atop the Coastal Division at 4-0 and facing the Blue Devils next week.
As for the play, there are various problems which are undeniable. Whatever Greensboro comes up with to explain this will probably be more ridiculous than claiming Ryan Switzer signaled for a fair catch improperly.
Those problems are:
-A screenshot showing the Miami player might have had a knee down on one of the laterals.
-At least three blocks that, well, may not have been legal.
-The fact the refs picked up the flag which appears to have been done at the behest of replay. The going theory is the officials on the field conferred and decided to pick that up, at least that will be the ACC's explanation.
-A Miami player ran onto the field from the sideline with his helmet off before Corn Elder crossed into the end zone.
Given Duke's reputation in basketball for favorable officiating no one is going to have an ounce of sympathy. Much of the focus will be on the final play but the officiating as awful throughout. The officiating has been awful all season, something UNC fans have complained about at length after a bad spot and weird measurement versus Georgia Tech, the fair catch call versus Wake Forest and Mack Hollins being called for OPI at the end of the half in UNC's win over Virginia.
In all these instances UNC partisans have been quite vocal that this constant string of ineptitude by ACC officials was a serious problem but was promptly told to shut up because UNC won. I am going to assume that tune will change.