Big Ten official explains ruling to overturn Cooper DeJean's go-ahead TD
Big Ten official Tim Odey has addressed what went into Saturday’s key decision that wiped away Cooper DeJean’s clutch go-ahead punt return in the fourth quarter.
That play initially went off without a hitch and quickly went to a replay review. Many thought the review was to determine whether or not DeJean stepped on the sideline, but the review eventually carried on for a while.
In the end, officials waved off the touchdown and ruled that DeJean utilized an “invalid fair catch signal” on the field. That call blows the play dead once the ball is recovered and took the touchdown off the board.
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Odey eventually provided comments on how the officials arrived at the call. This is what he had to say:
Let’s start with the definitions that surround the play. With regard to it, there are valued and invalid signals that can be given during any kick play. An invalid signal is any waving motion by a receiving team member that happens throughout the kickdown. That’s the first piece of information you have to apply here.
The second piece that comes from rule 6, is that any catch or recovery of a kick after an invalid signal is given causes to become dead upon recovery or catch. Those are the basis for what we made a decision on after seeing the play.
Going back to the play. The receiver makes a pointing gesture with his right hand and he makes multiple waving gestures with his left hand. If you look at the video you’ll see that. That waving motion of the left hand constitutes an invalid fair catch signal. So when the receiving team recovers the ball, by rule it becomes dead. So that is a reviewable element of the game. We let the play run out and then we went to review, review shows with indisputable evidence that there is a waving motion with the left hand. And that is when these rules are applied.
It’s legal to point but any waving motion of the hands during a kick play is considered an invalid signal.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz provided his own thoughts after the game, calling the entire situation “peculiar” and speaking at length about the confusing nature of the overturn.