Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder is still waiting for an explanation.
Days after K-State safety Kendall Adams scooped up a fumble from Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur and ran untouched into the end zone for what was originally ruled a touchdown Saturday in Nasvhille, Snyder remains unclear on why officials changed the result of the play after a video review.
“My understanding about replays is there has to be a clear cut purpose for overturning a call that is made on the field,” Snyder said Tuesday during a teleconference with local media. “From my vantage point, strictly mine, I could not see that on video tape.”
Many, including the ESPN crew calling Vanderbilt’s 14-7 victory, share that assessment.
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The play occurred midway through the second quarter. It started with Shurmur taking a shotgun snap and dropping back to pass on a third down. When he decided none of his receivers were open, he took off running. But K-State defensive tackle Will Geary got his hands on him immediately, forcing Shurmur to lose the ball on his way to the ground. The ball popped out directly into a pack of K-State defenders, and Adams had a clear path to the end zone.
The Big 12 crew that officiated the game signaled for a touchdown and K-State’s kicking team took the field in hopes of giving the Wildcats a 14-7 lead.
Then the play went to review, and things got weird. Though Big 12 officials were working the game, the play was reviewed by SEC officials in the conference’s centralized replay command center in Birmingham, Ala.
Did Shurmur’s right knee touch the ground before he fumbled? Was he down at the Vandy 27 before Adams scored? They wanted to take a look.
As ESPN showed replays, it was difficult to tell exactly when Shurmur’s knee touched the turf. As Geary tackled him, his body crashed down on Shurmur’s foot, which drove his ankle downward and helped pop the ball loose.
It’s possible Shurmur was down by contact before the fumble, but it was difficult to tell based on the angles shown on TV. ESPN announcer Mike Couzens and analyst John Congemi agreed there wasn’t enough video evidence to change the original call.
“I don’t see it,” Congemi said on the broadcast. “I think that play is going to stand.”
He was wrong. The replay officials decided Shurmur’s right knee touched the ground, and that Vanderbilt would retain possession. Instead of taking a 14-7 lead, K-State was getting ready to return a punt.
“That’s a shocker to me,” Congemi said. “I didn’t see a picture where you have indisputable video evidence to reverse that call.”
Adding to the confusion of the review is how officials from one conference changed a ruling made by officials from another conference.
Snyder said K-State reached out to the Big 12 for an explanation on the replay, but it didn’t have one to provide. He said the Big 12 sent a request to the SEC on K-State’s behalf. As of Tuesday afternoon, Snyder said the Wildcats were still waiting to hear from both league offices.
“I didn’t really realize there would be two different conferences represented that way,” Snyder said.
There is no telling how differently things would have played out had K-State’s touchdown remained on the scoreboard, but it could have meant a lot in a low-scoring game.
Of course, there is no changing it now, even if the review was incorrect.
Vanderbilt won a hard-fought game and improved to 3-0. K-State suffered a frustrating loss and dropped to 2-1.
Still, Snyder would like to hear an explanation.
“I don’t know that I have an expectation other than hopefully the same thing would not occur again for us,” Snyder said, “or for anyone else for that matter.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett