Conference officials discuss final play of Alamo Bowl

Updated: December 30, 2005, 2:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The field has cleared, even if the questions raised by the final play of the MasterCard Alamo Bowl on Thursday have not.

Sun Belt Conference commissioner Wright Waters, whose officials refereed the game won by Nebraska, took calls from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg on Thursday.

Waters assured them he would take officiating complaints seriously and would file the required report, ESPN's Joe Schad reported. Waters said officiating in the Sun Belt was "pretty good" this year. A Sun Belt crew worked the Champs Sports Bowl this year with "no complaints," Waters said.

The morning after, many people had questions about delays in replay calls and the final play of the game, during which Michigan repeatedly lateraled the ball and players and coaches from both teams were on the field before the whistle blew.

The Wolverines trailed Nebraska 32-28 and were at their own 36-yard line when Chad Henne took the final snap. Henne passed to Jason Avant to start a zigzagging, back-and-forth, seven-lateral journey down the field that didn't end until Titus Brothers knocked Tyler Ecker out of bounds at the Cornhuskers' 13.

As the play unfolded Nebraska coaches and players rushed the field, apparently thinking it was over after Avant fumbled at the Michigan 20.

But, no, Mike Hart picked up the ball and pitched back to Ecker, who ran the last leg of the bizarre relay.

No penalties were called on the play, but David Parry, NCAA national coordinator of football officials and coordinator of officials for the Big Ten said Thursday that both teams should have been penalized for extra people on the field.

Nebraska coach Bill Callahan, who was having Gatorade dumped on him as Ecker ran past, said it was good thing no flag was thrown for too many men on the field.

"I thought the game was over," Callahan said. "But evidently it wasn't."

For Michigan, it was another bad break in a season full of bad breaks.

"I don't know how that many people could end up on the field," Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr said. "I just don't know how that happened."

Hart said Michigan should have scored. "We just didn't get it in there."

Nebraska linebacker Corey McKeon's description of the play?

"Tiring," he said.

"You think you've got a guy down, and he throws it 40 yards across the field, and you have to run that far. It's kind of a pain in the butt," he said. "But it was smart by them. They needed to get into the end zone and they were doing everything they could to do that. It was desperation. We'd do the same thing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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