GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ryan Day said he was not crying about the calls that did not go his way in Saturday’s loss to No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl, but those plays played a significant role in the outcomes.
Replay overturned three plays that all went the Tigers’ way in their 29-23 victory at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
“It is too close right now, and I’m probably too emotional to really talk about those,” Day said afterward. “I’ll have to look at the film and see what that was. But I know there were some plays that were called on the field and then overturned, and when they overturn it, there has to be undisputable evidence. If that’s what they deemed it was, it’s going to be something we’ll have to take a look at.”
The first of the three calls overturned came in the second quarter when officials on the field called Justin Fields’ third down pass to J.K. Dobbins a touchdown. Dobbins made what looked like a diving catch in the end zone that appeared to have given the Buckeyes a 19-0 lead with 7:20 to play in the opening half.
However, replay overturned the ruling on the field as it showed Dobbins used the ground to secure the catch. The Buckeyes settled for a 33-yard Blake Haubeil field goal for a 16-0 lead.
The second controversial call came on the ensuing drive. With Clemson driving and facing third down, cornerback Shaun Wade and defensive end Chase Young sacked quarterback Trevor Lawrence for an 8-yard loss. However, replayed showed Wade hit Lawrence on the crown of his helmet and he was ejected from the game and Clemson’s drive was kept alive.
That led to Clemson’s first touchdown, an 8-yard Travis Etienne run with 2:45 to play in the first half.
“This was a crown-of-the-helmet targeting foul. So, it did eliminate a lot of other factors,” referee Ken Williamson said. “Initial contact was with the crown of the helmet. Then he wrapped up for the tackle. So, at that point, targeting was properly called.”
“Replay initiated it and they made the call,” he continued.
The final call, and the one that had Day and the Buckeyes upset the most was when Justyn Ross appeared to fumble the ball after corner Jeff Okudah stripped it from his hands as he tried to bring the ball in. However, replay decided Ross never had control of the ball and overturned the call on the field of a fumble.
“We had a lot of good looks on it. We put on fast motion and slow motion,” Williamson said. “The player did not complete the process of the catch, so, therefore, the pass was incomplete.”
“After the video, instant replay in the stadium, as well as back at the video center, they both looked at it slow and fast and they determined when he moved, the ball was becoming loose in his hands and he did not complete the process of the catch,” he continued.
It was a big blow for Ohio State as the lose ball was returned for a defensive touchdown.
“The thing about those plays were certainly that the catch that was returned for a touchdown was such a huge play in the game. The play with Shaun Wade, that was a fourth-down play. It was such a huge play in the game. That J.K. Dobbins catch, those were major plays and they didn’t go our way,” Day said. “So, I am not crying about it. But at the same time, those were big plays that didn’t go our way. And certainly again, a range of emotions about that.”
Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!