October 5, 2017
The Titan’s QB stepped back, scanned the field and threw 12 yards to a receiver in the end zone. The refs signaled a touchdown.
But what if the Titan’s touchdown shouldn’t have counted? Looking at the picture below of the game-winning catch, it appears the ball is more on the ground than in the receiver’s hands. There are pictures showing the seconds before the ball hits the ground and it looks like the receiver is bobbling the ball more than having secured it in a way that would count the pass as complete.
According to the NCAA rulebook, a completed catch is defined by a player “[securing] control of a live ball in his hands or arms before the ball touches the ground… and maintains control of the ball long enough to enable him to perform an act common to the game…”
If the player hits the ground and loses control of the ball, the catch is considered incomplete. If the player catches the ball, it hits the ground and then he regains control, it isn’t a catch. A catch that hits the ground is only considered complete if the receiving player secures control prior to hitting the ground and he maintains control the entire time.
In other photos, the receiver seems to completely lose control before being covered by senior Kyle Fox, who was on defense for the play.
At this point, the game is done and the score is final. But it is still important to point out that the play that cost Wheaton the game and caused them to plummet down in DIII football rankings was a fluke.