Fiesta Bowl: Controversial replay decision overturns Ohio State's fumble return for a go-ahead TD

Ohio State had a go-ahead touchdown taken off the board in the third quarter of its 29-23 Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson after officials eventually ruled Clemson WR Justyn Ross never had possession of a pass from QB Trevor Lawrence.

With the Tigers leading 21-16, Ross appeared to catch a pass near the sideline with Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah defending him. Okudah did a fantastic job of getting the ball out of Ross’ hands as he tried to pull the ball to his chest and it fell to the ground, where Jordan Fuller picked it up and ran it to the end zone for what looked like it would be a 22-16 Ohio State lead ahead of the pending PAT.

That didn’t happen.

The call on the field was immediately ruled a fumble. The official that was just feet away from the play threw his beanbag to mark where the fumble occurred and let the play go on until Fuller got into the end zone.

But officials quickly went to replay review and determined that Ross never had possession.

It sure looks like Ross had possession in slow motion. Apparently officials thought Ross didn’t have a chance to make a football move after some reflection. You can make the call with the GIF above and the GIF below. There’s an extremely strong case to be made that the call on the field should have stood.

This was ruled incomplete after replay review.


After the pass was ruled incomplete, Clemson punted the ball back to Ohio State. But the Buckeyes gave the ball right back to Clemson when Justin Fields was intercepted by Isaiah Simmons.

The incompletion wasn’t the first call that left Ohio State fans unhappy Saturday night, even if it was by far the most borderline. Shaun Ward got ejected in the first half for a targeting penalty on Lawrence and the Tigers took the lead in the third quarter after getting bailed out by an Ohio State roughing the punter penalty.

– – – – – – –

Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

More from Yahoo Sports: