Or was there a catch? In recent years, it has emerged as among the queries that are frequently addressed in football at all levels. Additionally, a catch controversy surfaced on Friday night during the intense, nail-biting Big Ten rivalry opener between Illinois and Indiana.
With just 23 seconds left, Indiana upset Illinois by scoring the game-winning touchdown. The Hoosiers therefore earned their first conference victory since December 2020. While we cannot denigrate Indiana, the Fighting Illini and their supporters have a valid complaint.
In the second quarter, Illinois marched into Indiana territory while behind 10-7. Brian Hightower, a receiver for the Illini, caught a pass from quarterback Tommy DeVito that seemed to be a 19-yard touchdown pass. But it was deemed to be lacking.
As we'll undoubtedly hear multiple times throughout the football season, you need strong, convincing evidence to call a play in question. In some circumstances, it might absolve officials of responsibility for failing to reverse something. But it appeared that there was clear and compelling evidence in this instance.
On the drive, Illinois ultimately kicked a field goal to tie the game at 10-10. Indiana came back and made two field goals to lead 16-10 at the break.
On a touchdown pass from DeVito to Hightower early in the third quarter, the Fighting Illini took the lead. They later increased their lead to 20-16 with a field goal early in the fourth.But in the closing minute of play, Shaun Shivers scored on a one-yard rush to give the Hoosiers the lead once more, and they held on to win 23-20.
So, did Illinois lose because of the missed call? There was far too much time remaining in the game to guarantee that the outcome would have remained the same if Hightower had been given credit for a touchdown. However, the Fighting Illini dropped a touchdown, which resulted in a net loss of four points. We cannot discount the four points they should have received given that they lost by three.