With 5:38 remaining in the fourth quarter on Saturday, the No. 22 Texas Longhorns were tied at 31-31 with the Texas Tech Red Raiders after Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian had to use a critical timeout to set up a 3rd and 3 following miscommunication on the field.
Texas quarterback Hudson Card rolled out to his right and found wide receiver Jordan Whittington down the sideline for a potential key conversion. On the field, the officials ruled that Whittington was out of bounds. But a screenshot of the play shows that Whittington had both feet down with control of the football, which he then maintained through the catch.
The critical third-down play that wasn’t reviewed. pic.twitter.com/rylei8PNNR— Wescott Eberts (@SBN_Wescott) September 25, 2022
Indeed, the booth never reviewed the play and the Longhorns had to punt, eventually conceding an 11-play, 56-yard drive that took 5:05 off the clock and resulted in the go-ahead field goal from 45 yards with 21 seconds remaining.
To be sure, Texas had plenty of opportunities to win the game, as well as other poor luck. Texas Tech converted 6-of-8 fourth-down attempts during the game, in addition to another seven third downs. A forced fumble on Red Raiders quarterback Donovan Smith on the go-head drive bounced right back to him and actually resulted in a gain that set up 4th and 3, which the Longhorns were not able to stop. The fumble by Texas running back Bijan Robinson in the first overtime was shocking and out of character. The run defense collapsed on the first play by Texas Tech in overtime, resulting in a 17-yard gain that essentially sealed the outcome barring a huge collapse.
And the mistakes by the Longhorns didn’t end with that short list and remain worthy of discussion over the coming days. Those discussions will happen.
But some baseline competency from Big 12 officials? That would be nice in key situations.