The Collegiate Officiating Consortium -- yes, that's a thing -- has released a statement regarding the loss of down situation that occurred during the Illinois vs. Nebraska game on Saturday. Coordinator of Officials Bill Carollo acknowledged a "breakdown of officiating mechanics" and stated that the crew will be evaluated.
Statement from Collegiate Officiating Consortium:
Rosemont, Ill. -- Collegiate Officiating Consortium Coordinator of Officials Bill Carollo acknowledged a breakdown of officiating mechanics in regards to down and distance during the first series of the third quarter in the Nebraska at Illinois football game on Saturday, Oct. 3.
While officials on the field are responsible for the correct down, distance and oversight of the chain crew, it is also the responsibility of the replay officials to monitor the game administration and correct the number of a down and distance if inaccurate. If properly officiated the Illinois football team would have had an additional down.
All officials in the Collegiate Officiating Consortium are graded and evaluated on every call of every game of the season. Errors of this nature have a significant impact on game assignments, bowl assignments and overall year end status.
The Collegiate Officiating Consortium consists of the Big Ten, Mid-American and Missouri Valley Conferences. The consortium considers this matter concluded and will have no further comment.
Illinois' first possession of the second half started with a 9-yard completion from Wes Lunt to Geronimo Allison. What followed next was a complete nightmare for the officials. The sideline crew monitoring the chains had no idea what the down and distance was, resulting in massive confusion almost immediately.
The Illini, who had just picked up a first down following a 3-yard run from Ke'Shawn Vaughn, proceeded to call plays normally as would any other team. But here's the thing -- Vaughn's rushing attempt was never awarded with a new set of downs thanks to the sideline crew.
So when Illinois ran their third down play, it was actually being considered a fourth down attempt. The Illini completely lost out on a play and, more importantly, Nebraska took over at midfield for no reason. The original down and distance was reviewed and the crew still somehow managed to mess it up.
The Illini were obviously still able to pull out a miraculous victory, but this type of error is simply inexcusable for a collegiate officiating crew. For a more visual explanation of what happened, I highly suggest you read this post from our friends at Illini Board.