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Michigan football was the betting favorite in Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal game against TCU. It did not go as expected and ended with controversy over a targeting no-call.
The Wolverines lost to the Horned Frogs by six in a thrilling, chaotic matchup that will forever live in history. And, in defeat, the fine folks fans were subjected to a bad case of déjà vu and left frustrated with a debatable officiating decision.
Let’s start with some Michigan football history.
On October 17, 2015, Michigan held a two-point lead over in-state rivals Michigan State. The visiting Spartans were ranked No. 7 in the country, while the home team was ranked No. 12.
With 10 seconds left in the game, the Wolverines had the ball on 4th-and-2 and were set to punt the ball away. The punt would have all-but put the win to bed, had it gone smoothly.
It did not go smoothly.
Michigan punter Blake O’Neill fumbled the snap. Michigan State’s Jalen Watts-Jackson recovered the loose ball and took it 38 yards for a game-winning, walk-off touchdown at The Big House.
The call “WOAH, HE HAS TROUBLE WITH THE SNAP!” is now iconic. As is the glasses-wearing fan’s “surrender cobra” reaction.
Michigan had it all come full-circle on Saturday night.
With 35 seconds left in the Fiesta Bowl, the Wolverines had the ball on 4th-and-10 at their own 25-yard-line. They were down by six points and needed to go the length of the field to win the game on an extra point.
It did not go smoothly.
The ball was snapped and quarterback J.J. McCarthy was not ready. He fumbled as a result.
This is where the 2015 call comes back into play— “TROUBLE WITH THE SNAP!”
Eventually, after a scrum at the line of scrimmage, a Michigan lineman scooped the loose ball. He lateraled back to running back Donovan Edwards, who threw forward pass to tight end Colston Loveland.
Loveland tried to run for a first down, but he came up well short. As he was being brought down, TCU cornerback Kee’Yon Stewart came downfield and laid a big hit.
Stewart’s hit immediately came into question, as he may have led with his head and launched at a defenseless player. Was it targeting?
Here is another look:
Ultimately, after video review, there was no foul for targeting. Wolverines fans were SHOCKED.
Stewart was not called for targeting, the Horned Frogs took over on offense, and the College Football Playoff semifinal came to an end. There was a lot of debate over whether it was the right call and targeting, once again, came under fire.
However, correct or incorrect, Edwards’ flip to Loveland was likely an illegal forward pass anyway.