Washington’s hopes for an upset at No. 5 Stanford ended with a questionable overturn of a fourth-down completion Saturday night.
After the replay official ruled the pass incomplete, the Cardinal ran out the clock for a 31-28 victory.
Conversation after the game predictably steered toward both the greatness of Saturday night’s late game and the controversy created by the final real play.
On a wild fourth-and-10 play, Huskies QB Keith Price escaped pressure and appeared to hit WR Kevin Smith on a comeback for a first down. The completion would have put Washington at the Stanford 33-yard line with 1:15 remaining in regulation. It already would have been in range for a 50-yard field goal.
Officials on the field called the play a completed pass. Numerous replays showed an amazingly close play, but seemingly provided no evidence to overturn whatever on-field officials called.
<a href=”http://twitpic.com/dg8o1m” title=”You can see the nose of the ball hit the ground here on Twitpic”><img src=”http://twitpic.com/show/thumb/dg8o1m.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ alt=”You can see the nose of the ball hit the ground here on Twitpic”></a>
Instead, the replay official overturned the call on the field, negating the fourth-down conversion and effectively ending the game.
Though the fourth-down conversion that wasn’t will draw most of the Sunday headlines, two enormous special teams plays dictated the outcome of Saturday night’s game.
Two returns by KR Ty Montgomery provided or set up 14 of the Cardinal’s 31 points. Montgomery returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. He also ran back a third-quarter kickoff 68 yards to the Washington 19-yard line to set up RB Tyler Gaffney’s 11-yard TD.
Both Price and RB Bishop Sankey played sensationally in keeping upset hopes alive for No. 15 Washington. Against one of the premier defenses in the nation, Price threw for 350 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. Sankey ran for 125 yards and 2 TDs.
More than anything, though, Saturday night showed how tremendous the Pac-12 North will be for the rest of the season. The nation already knew how strong Stanford and Oregon are, but had questions about Washington even after the Huskies jumped out to a 4-0 start that included a dominant win over Boise State.
Washington erased any doubt for anyone who stayed up to watch the Saturday nightcap.
Stanford held on for the late-night victory, but the Huskies certainly proved they are for real.