By JOHN TRANCHINA
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - The referee for the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game admitted that officials mistakenly awarded an untimed final play to the Chippewas, which they used to score a miraculous winning touchdown to beat the Cowboys 30-27 on Saturday.
Oklahoma State was penalized for intentional grounding on its final offensive play, which is a loss of down penalty. Rules state that the game cannot end on an accepted live-ball penalty, referee Tim O'Dey of the Mid-American Conference, CMU's league, said.
"There's an exception to the rule that says if enforcement of the foul involves a loss of down, then that brings the game to an end," O'Dey told a pool reporter after the game."
He said after conferring with the national rules editor, officials determined the "extension should not have happened."
Corey Willis scored the winning touchdown after grabbing a lateral from Jesse Kroll at the Oklahoma State 12.
Oklahoma State (1-1) thought it had won when Mason Rudolph threw the ball away on fourth down as the clock expired, but after the officials conferred, they assessed an intentional grounding penalty and gave Central Michigan another play.
Cooper Rush lofted up a Hail Mary pass that hit Kroll just inside the 10. As Kroll was being taken down, he pitched it back to Willis, who cut across the field and barely managed to score while being dragged down.
Central Michigan fans might have been having flashbacks to the Bahamas Bowl from two seasons ago, when the Chips covered almost the length of the field on a long pass and lateral play to make it a one-point game with no time left against Western Kentucky. In that fabulous finish, Central Michigan went for 2 and the win and did not convert. This time around, the Chippewas (2-0) were able run off with one of their biggest victories ever.
Central Michigan: Never quit on the Chippewas.
Oklahoma State: Even with the crazy ending and a possible mistake by officials in awarding that last play, the Cowboys were hoping for a relatively easy win For the second straight season, CMU gave them all they could handle.
Central Michigan: The Chippewas return home to face UNLV.
OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowboys play their third straight home game, hosting Pittsburgh.
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