20 Years Ago Today: 5th Down

20 years ago today, the most egregious mistake in the history of college football officiating took place: Colorado was given an extra down, down by 4 with under a minute left at Missouri. Skip to around the 2:45 mark in the following video, when Colorado gets their first first and goal:

Not only was an absolute failure of the officials’ most basic responsibility, it also had national title implications. 1-loss (and tied) Colorado would later go on to be #1 in the Associated Press poll, while undefeated (but tied) Georgia Tech would go on to be #1 in the Coaches’ Poll. Had Colorado not been given an extra down, it’s extremely possible they would’ve lost. (I also personally don’t think the guy even got into the end zone, but I’ve never seen a clear replay of it from any angle other than the ones in that video.)

I’m pretty sure there’s really only two college fanbases that really still care about this: us (by which I mean Georgia Tech fans) and Missouri fans. Well, this Saturday Colorado will play Missouri in that very same stadium. (Incidentally, Tech also has a 20th anniversary rematch this weekend, as they take on Virginia, who were ranked #1 at the time. They beat UVA on a last-second field goal in Charlottesville. They wouldn’t win there again until last year.)

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a good article about the incident.

The write up should be up as usual on Friday/Saturday morning.