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Weird ending sees Arizona State top Wisconsin

Wisconsin v Arizona State Getty Images

Joel Stave thought he was doing the right thing.

Wisconsin was at the Arizona State 13-yard line with 18 seconds left to play in Saturday’s night game in Tempe. The Badgers trailed the Sun Devils 32-30 and Stave snapped the ball and prepared to kill the clock to set up a game-winning field goal.

Only he didn’t.

After taking the snap, Stave moved to his left and, after bumping into one of his lineman, he placed the ball delicately onto the field rather than spiking it. It should’ve been ruled a fumble. The officials marked the ball and signaled for the Badgers to wait.

Confusion ensued while the game clock continued to wind down and, before Wisconsin could gather its wits and set up another play, time expired and ASU escaped with a bizarre 32-30 win.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in college football, ever,” Arizona State cornerback Osahon Irabor said afterward.

The Sun Devils appeared to have a solid lead when running back Marion Grice scored his fourth touchdown to put his team ahead, 32-24, with 8:50 to play. But Wisconsin stormed back as Melvin Gordon scored his second touchdown with 3:53 to play to cap a 75-yard drive.  ASU couldn’t kill the clock on its ensuing drive and Wisconsin got the ball back and stormed down the field thanks to a 51-yard pass from Stave to Jeff Duckworth. The game was set up for the Badgers to win.

Then Stave’s head-scratcher occurred.

It was a fitting capper to an entertaining game as both teams flashed signs of dominance and ineptitude throughout the contest. Wisconsin wasted a fine performance by Gordon, who rushed for 193 yards on just 15 carries. ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly was 29 of 51 for 352 yards, with 104 of those yards coming via receiver Jaelen Strongs six receptions.

It wasn’t a pretty way to win, but Arizona State will take it. The Sun Devils showed they have the firepower and the moxie to be legitimate contenders for the Pac-12 South title as they grabbed their first win over a ranked opponent since early 2011.

Wisconsin will be kicking itself for a while, but Big Ten play awaits. Gordon is going to be a handful for the conference and if the Badgers can get better play out of the quarterback spot, there’s no reason the Big Ten Leaders division shouldn’t be decided by a late-September tussle in Columbus.

For now, score one for the Pac-12 in the never-ending battle for conference supremacy.

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44 Responses to “Weird ending sees Arizona State top Wisconsin”
  1. onbucky96 says: Sep 15, 2013 10:45 AM

    No flag thrown on AZS player laying on the ball. PAC-12 officiating crew. I smell FIX! Waiting for the whoopsie we’re sorry letter from the head of PAC-12 Officiating. Suck it PAC-12.

  2. barkleyblows says: Sep 15, 2013 10:54 AM

    Bahahaha!!! On Wesconsen!!!

  3. barkleyblows says: Sep 15, 2013 10:58 AM

    I thought Brent Bellamy left for Arkansas?? Terrible coaching by Sucky at the end if the game.

  4. garyman1 says: Sep 15, 2013 11:01 AM

    I watched that game…. The Badgers got hosed. Not only did an Ariz State lay on the ball (delay of game), the official actually gave the “hold” signal to the Badgers players so they could snap it.

  5. paulhargis53 says: Sep 15, 2013 11:01 AM

    onbucky : Typical fan of any Wisconsin team. Blame it on anything but the fact your team got beat and was outplayed. Man do I detest any Wisconsin teams fanbases.

  6. oblongsphere says: Sep 15, 2013 11:04 AM

    Terrible story. Do more research and actually look at other sources showing his knee was down.

    ASU should have been penalized for laying on the ball and the refs should have gotten the ball spotted.

  7. tbone8018 says: Sep 15, 2013 11:11 AM

    Nice reporting, did you watch the game? No
    Did you watch the last play? Doubt it
    Look at the pic and tell me he didn’t kneel the ball.

  8. padraighansen says: Sep 15, 2013 11:12 AM

    Oh Lord. Knee was down. Plenty of pics all over the internet now showing that. Not in question. Whistles were blown. Rulebook even states that if he was simulating a kneel, the play is dead. If the officials are unsure it it’s a fumble, that’s what replay is for. ASU players jumping on ball, laying on it, and the umpire has no sense of urgency.

    I’d clearly suggest a little more research, Chris, before ThayerEvans-ing a blog post.

  9. BrownsTown says: Sep 15, 2013 11:14 AM

    Even better than the bungled handling of that last possession (I mean not possession) was the officiating crew running off the field without even taking a second to discuss whether they got it right.

  10. peopletrains says: Sep 15, 2013 11:14 AM

    Terrible coaching?! I guess UW coaches should have expected inept referring at the end of the game. Get a clue.

  11. jackrabbitz says: Sep 15, 2013 11:15 AM

    Wisconsin teams are use to getting hosed by officials.

  12. be4bama says: Sep 15, 2013 11:19 AM

    Calling packerbadger….

  13. waynefontes says: Sep 15, 2013 11:21 AM

    I watched that game too.

    It’s just as debatable that Duckworth stepped out of bounds on that long pass play.

    Brilliant end of the game strategy by Wisconsin.

    Why take the obvious kneel down or spike the ball when you can just lay the ball down on the field and create confusion.

    There wouldn’t be a controversy if Wisconsin was smart enough to do what every other team in America would do in that situation.

    But, that’s Wisconsin for you.

    Where’s packerbadger to remind us of Wisconsin’s superior intellect?

  14. be4bama says: Sep 15, 2013 11:24 AM

    Wayne, I heard packerbadger is on suicide watch.

  15. wisbadgers says: Sep 15, 2013 11:37 AM

    It was B1G 10 officials, not PAC – 12. That being said, that final play was bulls***. The ASU player jumps on the ball (delay of game), the official takes his sweet time getting the play ready and then holds off Bucky from hiking and then spiking the ball.
    Those refs couldn’t run off that field faster if they tried. Obviously, because they knew they f***ed up but God forbid, they make the right decision for the road team.
    I was at the game and I’m still p.o.’d over that outcome. I feel like our season just got screwed by amateur officiating!!!
    Also, i slowed down the replay. Stave’s knee touched the field before he placed the ball on the field. He was down!!!!!

  16. raysfan1 says: Sep 15, 2013 11:40 AM

    I watched the game, and I have ties to both schools. That was indeed bad officiating in the last few seconds of the game. However, Wisconsin shouldn’t have tried to shave it so fine–just kick the field goal, and force ASU to create their own miracle.

  17. lanzurrah says: Sep 15, 2013 11:42 AM

    Score one for the PAC-12? How about 8? They were 8-1 in non-conference games yesterday. UCLA came out sloppy vs NEB, but their athleticism ultimately won out in a lop-sided win at NEB. Oregon destroys Tenn, with Mariota and the 1st string only playing a couple mins into the 3rd quarter. Both AZ schools win, USC destroys BC. Wash wins at CHI against Illinois. Wash St and Stan roll against inferior teams….even Cal was putting up points on the vaunted OSU defense with a true freshman QB and first year head coach. The PAC is by far the deepest and toughest conference after the SEC. Three legitimate top ten teams in Ore, Stan and UCLA. Wash is a top 15 team or will be soon…then you have the AZ schools that will jump into the rankings and a USC team that may creep into there by seasons end if they keep playing defense the way they do.

  18. oblongsphere says: Sep 15, 2013 11:42 AM


    Onbucky is correct, they were PAC-12 officials. They said it during the game and on the radio afterwards.

  19. wheezerswin says: Sep 15, 2013 11:51 AM

    There is no question the pac12 refs blew it. That said, the badgers deserved to lose. Why run one last play and put the game at risk? Just to center the spot for the kicker? Stupid coaching and stupid players will always lose games.

  20. waynefontes says: Sep 15, 2013 12:08 PM

    lanzurrah says:
    Sep 15, 2013 11:42 AM
    Score one for the PAC-12? How about 8? They were 8-1 in non-conference games yesterday.

    Pac-12 is looking very good. UCLA was amazing in that third quarter. Washington could make some noise. It will be fun to see how it turns out.

    wheezerswin says:
    Sep 15, 2013 11:51 AM
    There is no question the pac12 refs blew it. That said, the badgers deserved to lose. Why run one last play and put the game at risk? Just to center the spot for the kicker? Stupid coaching and stupid players will always lose games.


  21. be4bama says: Sep 15, 2013 12:24 PM

    The loss belongs to the badger’s coaches. Not the officials.

  22. seabronco says: Sep 15, 2013 12:40 PM

    He didn’t set the ball down he took a knee and set it down after

  23. ithinkipeedmyself says: Sep 15, 2013 12:52 PM

    I’m not a fan of either team, but I do watch a lot of PAC 12 games. That ref crew is consistently bad. I agree that Wisconsin should’ve handled the clock better, and that the Sun Devil should’ve been penalized for delay…or at least the ref should’ve hustled more to get the ball spotted. Regardless, Wisconsin did get screwed out of the OPPORTUNITY to kick the field goal. Whether or not the kid makes it is another thing. Terrible way to win or lose.

  24. sgl24pack says: Sep 15, 2013 1:01 PM

    So are all of you Wisconsin fans arguing that your QB can just set the ball on the ground without taking a knee and it should be a downed? It was a fumble! Anyway, Wisconsin was outplayed and the ASU defense was superb for the most part. Go Devils!

  25. oblongsphere says: Sep 15, 2013 1:45 PM


    Have you looked at any of the links above showing his knee is down? Research before posting or at least buy a clue. Typical ASU fan with blinders on.

  26. crazyfootballfun says: Sep 15, 2013 2:24 PM

    Sorry, watched the replays 20 times and it did not look like his knee ever hit the ground…even the photos don’t confirm it….looked like he was going to, then for some inexplicable reason, he didn’t go all the way down, and THEN he laid the ball down. Wisc was standing around in confusion…deserve their loss and i have no preference between the 2.

  27. 10kmp says: Sep 15, 2013 2:43 PM

    “Weird ending”??? That’s a bit more than weird. I’m certainly not a Wisconsin fan, as a matter of fact I detested them when Bielema was there… but they were robbed last night. That wasn’t “weird”, it was inept officiating. The coaches work too hard and the players prepare too long for these games to be decided because a team of well paid officials don’t know what they’re doing. Go ahead and take the W, ASU. I would and so would anybody else… but you didn’t win the game. It was given to you. That’s an unbiased point of view from a fan who has absolutely nothing to do with either school/program/fan base.

  28. barkleyblows says: Sep 15, 2013 2:45 PM

    Typical Wesconsen sports fans. Cry cry cry. Atleast they are good at something…… Other then losing!!

  29. neverwas1 says: Sep 15, 2013 3:38 PM

    The last play is getting the most attention but the it should never have come to that… UW got away with two in a row just before that 1) the fake punt- they threw two forward passes on the same play plus the second pass may have been passed the line of scrimmage & 2) the longUW reception to get them in field goal range should have been called back, he clearly stepped out of bounds. Blown calls all over the place…the lesson learned, never leave it up to the officials, kick the field goal when you can.. Especially if you are on the road..

  30. hatesycophants says: Sep 15, 2013 3:41 PM

    This team got jobbed and it’s irresponsible for anyone to “report” on this game without mentioning that obvious fact.

    No way you actually watched this game and concluded otherwise.

  31. nightman13 says: Sep 15, 2013 3:55 PM

    What a horse shit article. Stave was taking a knee to set up the field goal, not spiking it. Then they were going to quick snap and kill the clock.

    The PAC 12 bogus refs refused to stop the clock are call AZ St for delay of game.

  32. thraiderskin says: Sep 15, 2013 6:33 PM

    I may live in Wisconsin, but I’m not a badger fan. With that said, in the video I watched, it is hard to tell if Stave actually touched his knee down, but 2 officials blew the play dead and signalled as such. It was then that the ASU players jumped on the ball and delayed the game. Having looked at the still shots, Stave’s knee was clearly down, however sloppy it was for him to bump into his lineman. ASU obviously played the Badger’s well, but they got one given to them at the end. For the crew not to address the situation with the Badgers tells me the crew was unsure what had happened. If that is the case, they needed to have a conference before ending the game. In hind sight, officials can not add a penalty (for ASU) upon review, but they need to discuss the situation with the team they screwed… that just seems fair.

  33. dkhhuey says: Sep 15, 2013 10:12 PM

    If you need to rely on the call of a referee to win the game – then you have already lost the game!

  34. muskyhunter2542 says: Sep 16, 2013 9:44 AM

    What people are also forgetting is the fact that the kicker for ASU missed a FG in the 1st qtr and they said that it was good.
    Clearly a bad oficiation group.

  35. muskyhunter2542 says: Sep 16, 2013 9:49 AM

    oops. Officiating group.

  36. muskyhunter2542 says: Sep 16, 2013 10:45 AM

    barkleyblows says:
    Sep 15, 2013 2:45 PM
    Typical Wesconsen sports fans. Cry cry cry. Atleast they are good at something…… Other then losing!!

    And your education is from where?

  37. bdnnbd says: Sep 16, 2013 12:11 PM

    I’m very disappointed in CFT’s coverage of this game. I expected to see 3+ articles about the biggest travesty I’ve personally witnessed in a college football game, and instead I find one article written by someone who not only clearly didn’t watch the game, but also barely mentions the result being directly affected by shoddy officiating. UW made some significant mental errors in the closing moments of this game, no one can deny that, but the bottom line is that the winner of this game, and that team’s presence in the Top 25, was decided by the officials, not the players on the field.

  38. 2late2matter says: Sep 16, 2013 1:31 PM

    Okay, just a couple of questions and then an observation as I live here in Gilbert, AZ – near ASU – didn’t watch the game, but have read a lot in the local press about the game’s end.

    Did Wisconsin have any timeouts left it could have called after the ball was downed, prior to the winning field goal being attempted?

    Although no delay of game was called on the ASU defense, could the referees not have put time back on the clock if indeed the previous play had been whistled ‘ended’?

    Why have the reporters (here in AZ) not made inquiry as to the “questionable” PAC-10 referees?

  39. packerbadger says: Sep 16, 2013 3:28 PM

    be4bama says:Sep 15, 2013 11:19 AM

    Calling packerbadger….
    Here I am! I was busy watching the Packers beat the krap out of Washington and enjoyed the rest of the weekend outside. I actually have a life outside of reading the news. Wisconsin players don’t get paid to play like Alabama players and Wisconsin players actually go to school and take real classes. Alabama vs Packers would be a very even matchup as both get paid and neither go to school! Yes, Wisconsin did get screwed, but we have a good football team with a new, classy coach; unlike your college coach. How did your pro team do yesterday? You got very LUCKY to get by Jonny @sshole the other day. Don’t see many national champs getting 42 points run up on them.
    So, after college football, what else you guys got down there? I’ll be enjoying Wisconsin Hockey and Basketball….both nationally ranked btw. How are your hockey and basketball teams? :) If you can’t beat Wisconsin teams, you can always cheat’em!

  40. mykulcee says: Sep 16, 2013 9:23 PM

    I just watched the video relay over and over. The pic above shows his right knee down – watch the video clip. His right knee is completely upright. That pic is not of the final play.

  41. tbone8018 says: Sep 16, 2013 10:19 PM

    If you are saying his knee wasn’t down, turn your speakers on and then explain why the ref blew his whistle. And obviously the ref had a better look than you or I.

  42. theuglitruth says: Sep 17, 2013 12:25 PM

    So, the Wisconsin kicker doesn’t have the skills to kick the ball from the right hash tag?? You can’t blame the refs, when you took the risk to “center” the ball between the hash marks on the field on the final play. What a joke!

  43. theuglitruth says: Sep 17, 2013 12:31 PM

    The question should not be about the refs, but about the decision to spend a down on “centering” the football for a kick. Just kick it.

  44. azsparky67 says: Sep 17, 2013 1:53 PM

    First off…..
    The Wisconsin Quarterback should have taken a knee. What should have occurred is that the ball still in play is a fumble, in which the ASU lineman that jumped on the ball had a recovery. Victory formation, game over. INSTEAD, a confused officiating crew got the wrong call, waited to place the ball, placed the ball while the clock was still going but down to 2 seconds, and game over.
    The officiating was wrong, but this started with an idiotic decision by the Wisconsin head coach to center the ball from 15 yards out. What, the fg kicker is THAT BAD that he can’t hit a chipshot from the right hashmark? Ridiculous. I’m an ASU fan, that’s correct, but before you start blasting me Badger fan, watch the damn replay. It’s on youtube. This in NO WAY was anything that Arizona State can be blamed for. In NO WAY. You all LOST. Case closed.

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