Last Saturday, 0-2 Notre Dame escaped with a 24-17 victory over Pac-12 opponent Cal to put up their first win of the season. The Golden Bears entered the game 2-0 but were heavy underdogs. They did almost enough to win.
There was a majorly controversial play early in the contest that Cal fans are still talking about. While trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Notre Dame set up for a 46-yard field goal. Their kicker missed the attempt, which should have given Cal the ball at their own 36-yard line.
But the ACC officiating crew called the Bears offsides on the play and the 4th and 5 became 1st and 10. Notre Dame would go on to score a touchdown and tie the game at seven points.
Here’s the problem: Cal was not offsides. They were not particularly close to being offsides. While missed judgment calls are part of sports, this was baffling. It wasn’t like someone jumped and then jumped back and it was close. Cal lined up perfectly legally. No one jumped. Yet, the laundry hit the field.
The ACC is sorry, but does it really matter?
It was a brutal call that left Cal fans wondering “what might have been.” This probably won’t make them feel any better — and arguably they’ll feel worse — but the ACC has apologized for the mistake, according to ESPN. And, they’ve suspended the official who made the call.
Despite that, Cal still had an opportunity to win the game. Unfortunately, their last-second Hail Mary attempt hit several receivers before falling to ground, and Notre Dame emerged victorious. Still, it’s hard not to wonder how the game would have played out had the offsides not been called.