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AAC acknowledges crucial officiating mistake during ECU-Tulsa game

Published: Oct. 31, 2020 at 6:56 PM EDT
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IRVING, Texas (AP) - The American Athletic Conference said Saturday that replay officials in the East Carolina-Tulsa game erred when overturning a fumble call that would have ended what turned out to the the Golden Hurricane’s game-winning drive.

Tulsa scored the go-ahead touchdown with 29 seconds left Friday in what turned out to be a 34-30 victory against the Pirates at home. But it came after an apparent fumble by a Tulsa ball carrier and recovery by ECU with 1:52 left in the game.

The ruling on the field was a turnover, but replay officials determined the runner had regained control of the ball before he was down, and when it came loose the play should have been over.

The American said it reviewed the game and found the runner did not regain possession of the ball, and the ruling on the field awarding the ball to East Carolina should not have been reversed.

The American said it communicated its findings to East Carolina and Tulsa, but it gave no word on whether the replay officials would face a penalty.

Here is the official statement from the American Athletic Conference:

The American Athletic Conference has acknowledged an officiating error that occurred in the fourth quarter of the Oct. 30 East Carolina-Tulsa football game.

With 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, a Tulsa ball carrier was ruled by the on-field officials to have fumbled, with the ensuing recovery by East Carolina. After further review of the play by the replay official, the ruling on the field was reversed; the replay official determined that the ball carrier had regained possession and was down, prior to East Carolina’s ultimately recovering the ball.

After reviewing the video of the play, the Conference has determined that the judgment of the replay official was incorrect. The ball carrier did not regain possession of the ball, and the ruling on the field awarding the ball to East Carolina should not have been reversed.

The American Athletic Conference has conducted a review of the game and has communicated its findings to East Carolina and Tulsa.

ECU hosts Tulane Saturday, Nov. 7 at 12 p.m. inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

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