Picture Pages: Was It a Catch?

Submitted by Seth on January 4th, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Screenshot 1

There's been some question over the no-catch ruling on Virginia Tech's 3rd down overtime prayer to receiver/punter Danny Coale. The play was ruled a touchdown live but overturned on review.

The setup: On 3rd down and 5 from the Michigan 20 in the first possession of overtime, Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas attempted to hit Coale on a corner route in the end zone. Coale had Michigan's coverage (by safety Woolfolk and cornerback Avery) beat to the outside but the ball was slightly overthrown. Coale dove for what would be a spectacular one-handed catch, bringing the ball in just as he, and it, hit the ground just inbounds. The side judge ruled it a touchdown, but on review it was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass because the receiver did not have control of the ballrulebook when the ball hit the ground.

The rule: You can find it on Pages 72-73 of the NCAA rulebook (emphasis mine):

Incomplete Pass
ARTICLE 7. a. Any forward pass is incomplete if the ball is out of bounds by rule or if it touches the ground when not firmly controlled by a player. It also is incomplete when a player leaves his feet and receives the pass but first lands on or outside a boundary line, unless his progress has been stopped in the field of play or end zone (Rule 4-1-3-p) (A.R. 2-4-3-III and A.R. 7-3-7-I).

The argument: The debate centers on whether or not Coale had "firm control" of the ball when it touched the ground. If the ball never touches the ground it's a clear reception, but since in this case nobody is arguing that the ball didn't touch the ground, the standard we're debating is whether or not Coale had established this firm control before the ball touched turf. For that we will consult the video.

With the grit of 40 Ecksteins, two Welkers, and half a Dileo, Coale reaches out and gets a hand underneath the ball. This is not "firm" control.


Coale now brings the ball between his forearms. This too would not be confused for "firm possession." However at this point he has a chance, if he can bring the ball to his chest and get it crooked in his arm, to prevent the ball from hitting the hard thing that is rapidly rushing toward him very fast.


So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like 'Ow', 'Ownge', 'Round', 'Ground'! That's it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it'll be friends with me?


Here is the money shot (clickening embiggens). Coale's elbow has hit the turf (just inbounds) but the ball is still between his forearms, not in his hands. It is hard to tell but the ball has now hit the ground as well, a nanosecond after the elbow.


The announcers were focusing on the elbow but the question is still one of whether the ball was firmly controlled by the player before it hit the ground.

A good test of this "firm control" (this is a sanity check not the final arbiter) is whether the ball moved when it hit the ground. It stands to reason that if the receiver had firm control of the ball when it came in contact with the ground it won't move that much.

If you recall, this is what doomed Junior Hemingway's TD catch attempt while down 8 in the closing seconds of the Iowa game. Hemingway actually managed to get two hands under the ball and secure it against his chest and arm a moment before coming down atop it. The "firm control" test in that case seemed to have been passed, but the catch was ruled incomplete because the reviewers saw the ball move in his possession after it hit the ground.

As you can see in the screenshots below, at the zero moment (when a part of the body made the player down) Coale's level of possession is way less than Hemingway's.

coale Hemingway

What controversially damned Hemingway was that after this the ball rotated about 90 degrees after the nose of the ball hit the ground, or so it was supposed since Hemingway's body blocked most of that. With Coale however the movement after contact with ground was pretty clear.


The ball is between Coale's forearms and possession only becomes firm long after the ball has impacted the ground. This I believe is what the review officials saw.


Incomplete! Time to bring in the 3rd string VT kicker who has been 4/4 today for an easy field g…oh snap!

But it's too close to call/not enough evidence to overturn! If someone is saying this to you they are confusing a Law & Order episode for reality. They have conceded that "incomplete" is the correct call, and are essentially complaining that it should have been ruled incorrectly because of a technicality in the literal meaning of the review rule. You cannot complain about calls the refs get right; that's not how complaining works. If you think the video is "inconclusive" you are conceding the call could have gone equally either way and saying it should be one or the other makes as much sense as whining that a flip of the coin should have been heads.



January 4th, 2012 at 3:38 PM ^

There was actually a magic ball involved that first touched Coale's hand then reversed direction touching his chest and forearm.  Before being locked away, it began changing direction again, by what I am calling the second ground theory.  There was a second, invisible ground which caused the ball to move prior to Coale actually contacting the real ground.  The end zone official, standing on the grassy knoll towards the goal line was blocked by the falling body and the man with the open umbrella (hey - wasn't this game played indoors - what was with the umbrella?).

President Obama has ordered a commission to study the incident, but is included to believe a single ground caused the incompletion.  The yet unseen Zapruder film could shed further light on the play.

It is expected that the commission's result will be that Denard is awesome and Hoke is tremendous.


January 4th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

After seeing this, particularly the large gif above, I feel like "incomplete" was the correct call -- though it's still a tough one. At times like these we need to remember just how damn hard the referees' job is, when these things are happening so fast on the field.

Now the other question is whether the video evidence necessitated overturning the call on the field, and I see a lot of truth in what ijohnb and Amolio are saying above. You can say there is more "indisputable" evidence here to warrant overturning the call than what there was, say, to overturn Fitz's last TD against OSU, but I can't blame Tech fans for being a little miffed.

But in the end, even they can't complain too much. If their kicker, who'd been perfect all night, just makes a chip shot field goal from b/w the hashes, then the odds are good we would've seen a second OT, and who knows what happens at that point.


January 4th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

... as I imagine there are many people here who will continue to believe both that Hemmingway caught that TD against Iowa and that Fitz scored that TD against tOSU.

The fact is it's a judgement call - if the refs had decided that he had firm control with his forearms, that would not have been the worst call we've seen.

That said, I didn't want it to be a catch and I'm glad the refs agreed.

restive neb

January 4th, 2012 at 4:28 PM ^

And here is one area of your analysis that is wrong, and provides room for the opposing viewpoint:


Here is the money shot (clickening embiggens). Coale's elbow has hit the turf (just inbounds) but the ball is still between his forearms, not in his hands


In that frame, his left hand is not wrapped around the football, but the right hand is.  You can't see the right hand in the image, but from the opposite camera angle, you can see that his right hand is in fact wrapped around the football.

For those who say that the ball moves in the opposite direction as the arm when he goes to the ground, this is frequently true when holding the ball and moving it into a tucked position under the arm, as he does.  It is not necessary to have it already tucked under the arm for the receiver to have it in his possession.  Therefore, the ball moving from the hand to the position tucked under his arm does not prove he did not have control prior to tucking it away.  The ball would have made the same directional change in his arms as he was tucking it away whether the ground was there or not.

His Dudeness

January 4th, 2012 at 4:41 PM ^


I am a Michigan alumn. Hoke is winning me over a bit at a time. I still think Borges will be run out of town in a few years because he is not good at things. Mattison is special.

I agree with this. The hand was under the ball. It was a catch. It was a remarkable play at the biggest moment in the game for that kid and it was a catch as plain as day. I feel bad for the kid and the Hokies.

That said I am happy the refs made the call the way they did and am so happy for this Michigan team. I don't think the refs got it right, but I am happy they got it wrong.


January 5th, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^

that I am sort of in line with.

Al Borges is supposed to be an offensive genius who draws plays up in his sleep. I have tried to stay open minded while giving him this year as a transition. Next year a stymied offense like we saw in East Lansing or New Orleans will be unacceptable short significant injury issues.

Brady Hoke, I was worried about a return to Lloyd-esq conservatism. Maybe it is because he had to this year, but he seems like a gun slinger when he should be. I like his coaching / leadership style on the field. Patience, supporting and teaching. Given the ESPN claims the SEC is so great beacuase they hire big name coaches, I think Brady is in a race to become a big name (ala Tressel without the ethics issues), especially before Mattison retires. In the meantime if I were the parent of a D-1 recruit, Brady Hoke is the kind of coach I would want coaching my son.

Mattison, Hoke, and crew are a special set of coaches to be able to coach up a 108th ranked defense like they have. I am hugely worried about next year, BUT if anyone can fill in the 5 open spots, it's these guys.


January 4th, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

If you look at the next shot though the ball is no longer in that right hand. It's not about whether the ball was touching this or that but about the pressure being applied to it. This sounds sciency and weird but in context it makes sense.

Imagine this as a knockdown: the defender's hand hits the top of the ball, and then the hand stays on the ball until it slams it against the ground. That's clearly not an interception. This is effectively the same thing: the hand brought the ball in but possession wasn't instantly established -- it's still moving down the arm when he hits the ground. When the ball hit turf it was out of that right hand but now sqeezed between the forearms. That's why it moved upon impact with the ground: possession was not established.

If you froze Coale in that position the second the ball touched down, and you walked over and kicked the ball, it would go flying. If it was in possession at that moment, if you froze and kicked the ball might come loose but it would be like knocking it out of a socket, not kicking it from a tee.


January 5th, 2012 at 9:21 AM ^

As Seth's screenshot shows, the ball is nearly vertical at one point.  It then moves from about 12:00 to about 2:00 when it hits the ground.  If Coale's arm was causing this, it should have been pulling the ball in toward his body.  This would have required him to decrease the angle between his bicep and forearm (making a "curl" motion with his arm) or to pull his upper arm back.  What happens instead is that the angle between his bicep and forearm appears to increase ever-so-slightly when the ball goes from 12:00 to 2:00 while the upper arm stays in the same position relative to his body.  This means that he doesn't pull the ball toward himself to cause the ball's movement - contact with the ground caused the change in angle. 

restive neb

January 4th, 2012 at 6:25 PM ^

I see his right hand wrapped around the ball in the frame you captured, and it continues to be wrapped around the ball as it rotates after contact with the ground.  His right hand is on the ball, pinning it to his chest, the entire time.  Does the ball move?  Yes.  Does it leave his right hand after he pins it to his chest?  No.  Ignore where his arm is contacting the ball.  His right hand is pinning it to his chest throughout the motion.  The ground did not aid his catch.  The ball was pinned to his chest, moved from contact to the ground (as it always will -- the ground is a hard surface), but never left his chest or his hand.

I am so happy that Michigan won, but anyone who thinks this is an easy answer doesn't understand or doesn't want to see.  By rule, the ball can hit the ground.   The ball can move because it hits the ground.  The ball was in his right hand pinned to his chest before he reached the ground.  That is the point control is established.  The only two questions that are relevant are whether the ball is dislodged from his grip after hitting the ground, or whether the ground aided the catch.  The latter is ridiculous -- he already had control, so the ground could only impede his control -- and the former is debatable.


January 4th, 2012 at 6:54 PM ^

the ball has already touched the ground by the time his right hand gets around it AND that it has already started to move to the point that the movement helps him get his hand on it.  I still think that by that point in time the ball had also touched the ground out of bounds.


January 4th, 2012 at 4:45 PM ^

As painful as it is when the refs get a call wrong (or right) - as a fan you have to accept it as part of the game.  Armando Galarraga sure would have liked to have a perfect game on June 2, 2010 (I think Jim Joyce wishes this too).  "The Key Play" (a Virginia Tech blog) has a pretty good write up on what it means to be a passionate fan.  Worth a click because he says it well.



January 4th, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

In a sane universe, I think that has to be ruled a catch – the criteria seem to me like they ought to be, "Does he have it?", "Does anybody else have it?", and "Is he going to lose it?".  Coale clearly had the ball, no one else was near him, and no way on earth he loses it.  By comparison, the Megatron no-catch from 2010 (which I'm still bitter about) is less clearly a catch because Calvin did actually let go of the ball.  He almost certainly thought the "process of the catch" (or whatever the verbiage is) was completed, but by not holding on (which I affirm 110% he could have) he created that doubt.

But of course, we don't live in a world where sports rules are framed like that (though soccer rules come close until you start getting into FIFA's reams of interpretations, directives, and points of emphasis), and instead of the fairly simple three-point exercise outlined above we have the rule as written, and by the rule as written (and the normal "did it move when it hit the ground?" test), it's not a catch.  So, yeah, VT got robbed a little bit, but by the rulebook, not the referees.

Put it this way.  If it had stood (and been the deciding factor), I would grouse about it (since it's not a catch by rule, but not very strongly (because it is one by common sense).


January 4th, 2012 at 5:56 PM ^

Really not sure why these calls have to be so controversial except as thinly veiled pretenses for butthurt.

Look, it was close. Painfully close. The receiver did a damn good job. That the kid actually got his hand on the ball at all was amazing, but it was just too tough a situation to tuck it in mid-air, and it slid between his forearms. No catch. And now I'm hearing calls to make the rules easier. But there's a bit of a problem with this:


That logic is why receivers today are coached to GET THE HANDS (arms) UNDER THE BALL on diving catches. Heroic effort won't matter if you can't seal the deal -- don't let the ball hit the ground, because it makes things difficult for the ref. And it's damn tough, sure. This isn't about screwing the receivers tho; it's about making the game fair. Refs are fallible humans watching live play at high speed; they need rules that make calls as easy as possible. Michigan got burned by the same call.

The current rules are a result of this logic, and it's common sense. Swing the rules in the receiver's favor and you're greatly INCREASING the ref's influence on the game. To avoid that you have to go to the other extreme, a similarly easy-to-call rule that favors the receiver. That would suck. A receiver who traps the ball between his body and the ground is not catching it in any literal sense, yet every offense within three years would be WCOs with receivers coached to hide the ball with their body instead of tucking it in. A "good jorb!" world of precious snowflakes where every receiver's a winnar! because DBs have no hope of defending passes DELIBERATELY thrown out of bounds to exploit the hypothetical "when in doubt it's a catch" rule.

VT could've done any number of things to win the game without the refs botching the call. The pass could've been more accurate. The kicker could've made the last FG. Only one of seven trips to the red zone resulted in a TD. Not that improving these are easier, but that's kind of why they call it a COMPETITIVE sport. If you're asking for a bad call to bail you out, you're not beating the other guy.

Was a catch

January 4th, 2012 at 6:18 PM ^

Problem with your argument is the "firm control." He did not just have the ball wedged between his forearm and his chest. His hand was on the ball. Was he carrying it like a RB? Obviously not, but that does not mean without control. When you watch you see the ball brought back against his body and it does not move (ie in control) until after his elbow hits. 

That gif almost convinced me, but when you look at the other angle you see that he has more than just his forearm pressing the ball against his chest (but, again, that could actually be firm control if it is not moving. 


January 4th, 2012 at 7:49 PM ^

The ball is almost vertical right before impact, a frame later it is horizontal.  What people who are saying the is a catch have to believe is that he has the ball secure against his forearm and     he rotates the ball in that position.  Grab a football with your hand around the front tip and pin it against your arm with the bottom end unsecure.  Its impossible, the bottom end has to be secure against your forearm unless you are palming the football.   Also his arm angle would have to change relative to the angle of the ball; it doesn't, only the ball angle changes because of how it impacts the ground.  He is not the one who rotates the ball, its the ground that changes its position.


January 4th, 2012 at 6:59 PM ^

In pic 1 he has the ball in his right hand, in pic 2 it is in both hands and in pic 3 it is between his forearms.  He does not get his hand - either hand - back on the ball until after the ball has hit the ground.  If it had been in control while it was in his hands, it would not have moved back to where it was simply between his forearms.  The ball was still moving.  That is precisely what is meant by not under control.


January 4th, 2012 at 7:24 PM ^

As it says in the rule exerpt, "It also is incomplete when a player leaves his feet and receives the pass but first lands on or outside a boundary line, unless his progress has been stopped in the field of play or end zone"

He landed on the boundary line, and his progress didn't stop in the field of play....regardless of the ball hitting the ground. He was out. Don't understand why the side judge even thought it was a grab....He was out from the get go


January 6th, 2012 at 6:53 AM ^

 Coale's body obscured the ref from having the definitive view of the catch.  He wouldn't have seen the movement given that he was coming down the line behind the play.  Had the ref been watching from the back corner of the end zone, I am pretty sure it would have been ruled incomplete on the field.  Watching on TV, the moment they showed the shot from the back of the end zone, it was pretty clear that it was an incomplete pass.  I don't think that this was controversial at all, and it accomplished exactly what replay is there for - sometimes the ref is not in position to see the critical piece of information needed to make a call.


January 4th, 2012 at 7:58 PM ^

He wasn't controlling the ball with both hands, it only appears that way in the angle you use.  Check out the front-on angle... he gains control of the ball with his right hand only.  He gains control, his left elbow hits and at no point after that did the ground assist him in gaining control of the ball.  It was a catch IMO.  At the least, it wasn't so indisputable that it should have been overturned.  The fact we are debating it makes is disputable.

That said, the game should have never gone to OT anyway.


January 4th, 2012 at 8:03 PM ^

He wasn't controlling the ball with both hands, it only appears that way in the angle you use. Check out the front-on angle... he gains control of the ball with his right hand only. He gains control, his left elbow hits and at no point after that did the ground assist him in gaining control of the ball. It was a catch IMO. At the least, it wasn't so indisputable that it should have been overturned. The fact we are debating it makes is disputable.

That said, the game should have never gone to OT anyway.


January 4th, 2012 at 9:10 PM ^

It's not a debate. Hokie fans like you are upset and we're simply showing you the error in your ways and pointing out what the replay official saw. It's not a debate, the ground helped the receiver gain control. Sorry.


January 4th, 2012 at 9:25 PM ^

How can you say it's not?  It's quite the talk all over.  Nessler and Blackledge thought it was a catch, and they certainly thought there was no indisputable evidence to say it wasn't a catch.  Based on my internet browsings today, I'd say 65-85% of non-Hokie and non-Wolverine fans think it was a bad overturn.  Didn't I hear Jim Rome say it was a bad call?  You can't say it's not a debate, that's just not true.


January 4th, 2012 at 9:37 PM ^

Nessler and Blackledge said on the broadcast itself that there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call. Hoke said it was a catch, but it's no surprise that these guys are trying to justify their win when they got beat everywhere but the scoreboard. Michigan fans are some of the most ignorant in the country.



Everyone and their mother thinks it was a catch but their fanbase. It's just hilarious.


January 5th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

Where we could have played 20 more quarters, and you'd never have had a prayer to get into the endzone, unless a ref decided to put it on the two again with an equally ridiculous call that the pass was even catchable on that pass interference call. Otherwise your offense was never getting into the endzone against us. The only reason it was close was because your 3rd string kicker bailed you out for most of the game. You lost because you don't win big football games with Field Goals. But you sure can lose them. We scored touchdowns. You didn't. You lose, and go back into irrelevance. (You're just lucky you didn't play West Virginia, apparently).

I will give you this- it certainly helped that your coach made the most boneheaded call I've seen in ages by giving a punt fake option AFTER a time out, against a safe punt return, rather than just going for it. That was more moronic than your posts.


Edit: Ah, the old comment to the invisible deleted troll trick.


January 5th, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

First, how do you get a comment tagged with trolling, and what did I do that was trolling?  I just simply said you can't evaluate whether it was a catch or not by saying he was using both hands arms to gain control of the ball... he caught the ball and gained control with his right hand only.  The back of the end zone angle inaccurately makes it appear as though he was using both hands.

Also, what does "the old comment to the invisible deleted troll trick" mean?  I have no idea.

And lastly, I didn't say anything about 20 more quarters... I just said it shouldn't have come down to OT.  Did we stall out in the red zone time after time?  Yes.  Was it because our offensive coaching staff called run after run after run?  Maybe.  I'd say probably since we were throwing the ball seemingly at will all game.  Was it because the UM DEF buckled down?  Maybe.  I'm sure it played a role, too.  Take away the wobbly-duck-3rd-and-17-Hail-Mary-between-two-VT-defenders or the botched-FG-false-start-holding-illegal-men-downfield-crazy-batted-ball-catch-for-a-first-down plays and our red zone ineptness wouldn't have mattered either.


January 6th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

I was actually responding to another poster who's since been deleted, because he was a Hokie fan who wasn't only trolling, he was being a dick about it. So my post moved up to yours, so it wasn't really a response to you, but him.  Thus the disconnect between what you were saying and I was saying. You can probably still see his posts in the App, but I don't really expect anyone to care enough to check it out.

"Trolling" can mean a lot of different things, mostly "I didn't like your post".  The problem may lie in that you come in to argue and complain about a call AFTER the game, and signed up and weren't around before the game (like a couple VT people were) to discuss it. You go to another fan board only after the game is played, whether to gloat or to whine, and you'll probably getted labeled a troll. I'm not going to reread through all your posts, but if you were over the top once, you probably got hit multiple times. On another team's board, you need to have some reasonable discussion and pay your dues before you get to complain and be taken seriously.

The problem is when he's holding it with one hand, the ground jars the ball lose, as it distinctly moves. And when he regains control, he's out of bounds. If it wasn't incomplete at that point anyway.

And your last paragraph was a response to my response to the other poster who was in effect saying that VT dominated the game and only the refs even kept Michigan in the game.  And I was responding that really, but for one ref call the other way, VT never got in the endzone. And you don't win big games by kicking field goal after field goal. If you want to say you should have thrown more, you can. I can probably find things we should have done to be more effective offensively too. The point in both teams played really good defense (something national pundits don't acknowledge and/or like), and the difference in the game was, lucky or not, Michigan found ways to make big plays for TDs, and VT had to settle for FGs.  Maybe VT wouldn't have if they had passed more. Maybe our guys finally get in and cause another turnover, and make it not close.  Both teams did a great job against the run, not so great against the pass. (Michigan gave up more yards passing; VT gave up more touchdowns passing).  When you put it all together, VT had their chances, and it was a close game, but VT wasn't robbed; they were outplayed.  Because as we learned around here for a few years, games aren't great stat sheets, computer rankings and yards, but points and wins. Michigan didn't let the errors they made become disasters, and did what they had to for a victory.


January 4th, 2012 at 9:32 PM ^

Hoke said it was a catch himself. Suck on that. Like I siad, enjoy your win. It took us handing you the game on the silver platter AND the refs screwing it up. Better than losing, for sure, but that was the definition of handing a team the game.



For the most, I thought Michigan were more educated about football than they seem to be. People like yourself just show over and over that Michigan might have a winning tradition, but certainly has one of the dumbest and most ignorant fanbases in college football.


January 4th, 2012 at 9:28 PM ^

I have to say the Va Tech analysis of the validity of the replay stands in stark contrast to Seth's.

I'm not sure what is more amusing, the smugness with how this amateurish argument is presented or that the conclusions it draws are so patently incorrect.


January 4th, 2012 at 9:28 PM ^

Hoke said it was a catch and there's no doubt in my mind that he knows more than the dumbasses that post here. Be glad you won but don't for one freaking second think that your sorry asses wouldn't be LIVID if the shoe was on the other foot.



I like Hoke but the Michigan fans I experienced last night were the epitome of scum.

Chad Sexington Henne

January 4th, 2012 at 9:36 PM ^

Uhm, the fact that we would be livid (or that you are livid) doesn't mean we/you are right. Yeah, I'd be pretty damn angry if this happened (we had a similar call this year against Iowa go against us) but that has zero bearing on the truth.

Also I'm glad you took the time to come read the website of the "epitome of scum" and that you care so much what we think that you'd try to change our minds. Superlolz.

Side note: am I the only person who thinks that Denard's "interception" on the second drive was a clear no-catch? The defender had even less posession than Coale did but they didn't overturn it...


January 4th, 2012 at 9:41 PM ^

1.  Hoke said that based on the replay he thought the ref would not overturn the call on the field, not that he thought it was a catch, big difference.  He essentially reached the same conclusion of that of the announcers, who also thought the play would also stand as called.  So while Coach Hoke might know more about the "dumbasses" that post here, he doesn't necessarily know more about rules interpretation than the refereeing crew.

2.  The shoe was on the other foot for us about two months ago in the Iowa game.  A touchdown catch that could've potentially tied the game for Michigan was overturned and we lost.  We weren't happy and we weren't convinced it was the correct call, but we accepted it and moved on.

3.  Your experience with Michigan fans stands in stark contrast to most of the reports I've seen from others in NOLA.  It's less likely that you're a Hokie fan than you're just a Sparty / Buckeye troll trying to start shit here.  Nice try.


January 5th, 2012 at 9:25 AM ^

Two reasons this was not s catch. Nose of ball touches ground before completion of catch and OUT OF FREAKIN BOUNDS!!!!!!!! Two out of three. Not bad. Michigan has had more controversial calls go against them in bowl games than Va Tech has been to bowl games. Twice this year in the regular season it happened. Don't cry to us. Been there done that. As far as your experience with Michigan fans. Sorry. But I can't also comment about something I didn't see. Good luck next year.


January 5th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

The nose of the ball touched the ground after he had gained control of the ball with his right hand.  The ground did not assist him in gaining control of the ball nor did he ever lose control of the ball after the nose of the ball had touched the ground.  That would refute reason #1.

After he gains control of the ball in his right hand, his left elbow toucheds down inbounds.  An elbow = a foot as far as being inbounds.  A knee counts, too.

At any rate, I see him gain control of the ball with his right hand just before his left elbow lands in bounds and just before he rolls out of bounds.  At no point, did the ground assist him in making the catch.

Sten Carlson

January 5th, 2012 at 12:23 AM ^

Coach Hoke was on the far sideline at field level, hardly the best angle to judge whether it was a catch or not. I was on that side too, but up higher and we could not see whether it was or wasn't in fact a catch live. As you saw if you were there, they only showed one replay on the big screen. This replay was not nearly as clear as what ESPN showed repeatedly, but even from that replay, I instantly turned to my buddy and said, "the nose of the ball hit the turf, they'll overturn the TD call..."

Furthermore, the linesman making the call had absolutely zero sight of the ball since the receiver's body shielded his view. When the replay official reviewed the play, he saw what was obvious, the kid made a brilliant play on a perfectly thrown ball, and eventually did in fact gain possession of the ball -- unfortunately for VT, that possession was the result of the ball's contact with the turf. Refs are instructed that, unless obviously not, they should call plays fumbles, INT's and TD's knowing that those plays can be reviewed and corrected if need be.

I didn't see an ESPN replay until after the game in the Quarter and I was pleased that the replay officials, and I, got it right. Believe me, I know it's hard, but VT fans need to look at the play with a completly unbiased view. Fitz's TD was properly called back vs. Ohio -- although they botched the spot -- and in similar fashion to the call being discussed here, Junior's no-catch vs. Iowa was the proper call. If you're able to remove your fanhood from the analysis, you'll come to the correct conclusion that although close, the turf allowed him to gain possession.

As far as Michigan fans being scum, I know it wasn't me. I shook hands with several VT fans, thanked them for a tough fight, congratulated them on their great players, offered my condolneces about the call and that outcome of the game, and told them Michigan's fans knew how they felt as we'd had TD's taken away at the worst times too.


January 6th, 2012 at 7:02 AM ^

"the linesman making the call had absolutely zero sight of the ball since the receiver's body shielded his view. When the replay official reviewed the play, he saw what was obvious,"

This is the key point, and the reason for replay - sometimes the official on the field can't see the ball and makes an inference.  Had the linesman been in the corner of the end zone, I am sure the call on the field would have been incomplete.  The first replay ESPN showed from the back, even in real time, clearly showed the ball moving around.


January 4th, 2012 at 11:21 PM ^

It was overturned and ruled incomplete => therefore not a catch. If livid VT fans want an example of really getting hosed by the refs, go back 33 years to the 1979 Rose Bowl, when Charles White was awarded his phantom touchdown. I have no sympathy for VT because we've all been there.


January 5th, 2012 at 12:18 AM ^

That Coale non-catch immediately reminded me of the Hemingway Iowa game deal, too. Problem is, if Coale made the catch, Hemingway definitely made the catch. in which case, we'd have beaten Iowa, played for the B10 championship, and Hokie fans would have spent today reeling from an encounter with MI state and Dantonio's twerpiness, and we'd still be down from losing to Wisconsin in the championship game and ending up with a dumb bowl bid, and going on about those seniors who went through so much and came so close... which I am sure is exactly how the whole thing played out in a parallel universe that sucks