Malfunctioning monitor blocked review on first Texas TD
By Malcolm Moran and Jack Carey, USA TODAY
PASADENA, Calif. — The first touchdown scored by the Texas Longhorns in Wednesday's Rose Bowl was not reviewed because of a malfunctioning monitor that prevented the replay crew from seeing the necessary angles to stop play.
Dave Parry, the national coordinator for NCAA football officiating, told USA TODAY a problem with one of the monitors temporarily limited the replay officials to the same image shown on the screen beyond one of the end zones.
Texas quarterback Vince Young appeared to have a knee touch the ground before he lateraled to tailback Selvin Young for a 12-yard touchdown run. The play gave Texas a 9-7 lead with 4:57 to go in the second quarter.
"They didn't get the time to see the views ABC provided," Parry said at halftime. "It should have been reviewed."
Parry, the coordinator of football officiating for the Big Ten conference, directed the implementation of the conference's replay system during the 2004 season. The Big Ten system quickly became regarded as a model and was widely copied by other conferences. The Texas-Southern California game marked the first Bowl Championship Series title game to use replay.
Parry said the malfunction compounded an already complex challenge for the replay crew on the touchdown play. He said there were three issues being examined: Whether Vince Young's lateral was forward, and therefore illegal; whether the ball was out of his hand before a knee touched the ground; and whether Selvin Young stepped out of bounds.
Before the replay crew decided to stop the game, Texas was able to snap the ball for the conversion attempt. But although the Longhorns may have benefited from the equipment problem, kicker David Pino missed the attempt, creating a potentially decisive difference in the game.
On the series that led to the first Texas touchdown, the replay officials ruled that Longhorns safety Michael Griffin intercepted a pass from Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart and kept his right foot in bounds. The play, originally ruled incomplete, gave Texas the ball at its 20-yard line after a delay of 1:12.
No regrets: USC went for it twice on fourth downs and failed to convert, and the last one proved to be the most costly. LenDale White, who rushed for 124 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns, failed on fourth-and-2 near midfield with 2:09 remaining. The Trojans were up 38-33, but Vince Young took over to lead the Longhorns to the winning touchdown.
USC coach Pete Carroll had no regrets about his decision. "If we make a first down, the game's over," he said. "We had just seen them (on offense) and what they did the series before. That was our moment to seal the win. It was a clear decision. Wasn't any question about it."
QB Matt Leinart failed to convert a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter on Texas' 17-yard line with the Trojans up 7-0. He concurred, however, with his coach's decision. "We were moving the ball the whole game and we felt like we could run it," Leinart said. "We were inches short."
BCS update: Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, new administrator of the BCS, said the commissioners are concerned about the late-night finishes of BCS games, including the Penn State victory against Florida State in the Orange Bowl that ended just before 1 a.m. ET Wednesday on ABC.
He said the commissioners will attempt to influence the Fox network, which will carry all the BCS games except the Rose next season, to start the games earlier but doubted that would happen.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno voiced his feelings about the late starts after beating FSU 26-23 in three overtimes: "You know how angry I was, sitting in that locker room? ... The whole BCS is for television. It's for money. ... I don't like it, to be frank. I'd rather coach and not have all this other junk."
The game produced a 12.5 overnight TV rating, which translates into 12.5% of TV households in 56 major TV markets. That rating represented a 21% increase from the overnight for the bowl game in the comparable time slot last year, which was Auburn-Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Through the first three BCS games, ABC's overnight ratings were running 11% over last year's numbers.
Slive also said BCS officials have been assured that repairs to the Louisiana Superdome and the addition of available hotel rooms in the area will take place in time to return the Sugar Bowl to New Orleans at the end of next season.
Growing pains: As the Rose Bowl neared, Selvin Young recalled that it hasn't always been a bed of roses for the Longhorns as they tried to arrive this close to college football's pinnacle. There was disappointment and underachievement to deal with along the way.
"A lot of guys, we basically took it upon ourselves, if we want to do something special, then it's right there to do," Young said.
"(Vince) Young came in, and the Class of 2002 was the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. We had plans of winning two or three national championships. Some of the guys faltered along the way, but it's just been a growing process. It's like brothers. We grew up together and (watched) everybody fall and come back up and stand tall."
On target: Young completed 30 passes, and 10 of them went to tight end David Thomas, who had 10 catches for 88 yards.
Big game: Texas' appearance in the Rose Bowl gave the Big 12 Conference five berths in the national championship game since the BCS started with the 1998 season. That's the most of any league. Oklahoma is 1-2 in BCS title games and Nebraska 0-1.
The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East are tied for second place with three appearances each.
USC, in the title game for the second consecutive year, is the only Pacific-10 Conference school that has appeared in the BCS championship game.