Duke Duped By Miami “Moon”

On the 4th of 8 laterals that gave Miami a 30-27 last play kick off return TD against ranked Duke, the runner was down before he released the ball, but the bold as daylight fact was missed by the refs, even with the help of replay. Unfairly or not, Miami won the game, 30-27.

On the 4th of 8 laterals that gave Miami U. a last play kick off return TD against ranked Duke last Saturday, the runner was down before he released the ball, but that bold as daylight fact was missed by the refs, even with replay help. Miami “won” the game, 30-27, and there will be no outcome reversal.

With about seven seconds to go in last Saturday’s home game on the Duke campus, the Blue Devils scored to take a 27-24 lead in what appeared to be a win over the University of Miami Hurricanes that would preserve their national ranking once they ran out the clock on the ensuing kickoff by containing a last play miracle.

Didn’t happen. Miracles do. But so does egregious human error.

Miami managed to pull off an eight lateral delay of defeat on the deep kick off that eventually resulted in one of their speedier guys, with blockers, getting away down the left sideline and going all the way for a 30-27 last play shocking win by the Hurricanes. In the 49 seconds of actual time it took to both execute the play and justice, Miami had made college football look more like a run-out-the-clock basketball game of keep-away by a team playing for the last shot. And indeed it was Miami that got the last “nothing-but-net” shot as Duke’s only harvest was the loss of the game and their national ranking.

A video replay assessment of nine minutes duration put a temporary choke hold on Miami ecstasy, but, when the decision came in from the two referees who reviewed the “tape” (or digitally recorded moving in high definition clarity picture, if you prefer) the now cliche words hit the Duke people and their fans like thousands of simultaneous bee stings: “The ruling on the field stands. Touchdown Miami. Game Over.”

How this ruling remained unaffected by the still shot featured here in the eyes of the referees is beyond many of us, but that’s the way it played out. We could talk all day about the possibilities of human error: the restrictive perception factor which keeps some people from ever reversing their first opinions; and the unconscious and conscious effect of bias possibility – and it still wouldn’t change anything from the way the rules currently work in most sports.

The referees who called the game each have been suspended for two games as a result of their “miss” on this picture and other arguable examples, but there is no recourse for Duke getting the outcome reversed or their ranking restored. Miami gets to keep the win, perhaps as some consolation for the fact that a week earlier, they had lost a game by 58-0 for their worst defeat in history. That one also got their head coach fired.

As for Duke? Duke gets that long perpendicular to the ground tunnel that remains when a tall building manager removes an elevator for maintenance or repair.

Our full sympathy and commiseration goes out to Tal Smith, one of the finest people to ever graduate from Duke University. Tal, we know you may have seen it all on both sides of the agony and ecstasy continuum, especially in baseball, but that kind of thing that happened to Duke last weekend is something we are hoping to never see again. It even cheapens the victory for the judgment-anointed winner.




One Response to “Duke Duped By Miami “Moon””

  1. materene Says:

    The question is how much daylight was between the ball and the players hand when that photo was snapped, or clearance for the engineering insane. A rule change allowing one lateral per down is in the works, plus removing a few humans from the retirement list of the Referees Union. How did we manage to play so long without all the man made problems added on. Better still why even have a referee, play ball!

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