When Northwestern paid Western Michigan for an early season home game, they were hoping for an easy win. Instead, they lost 22-21 when Western Michigan caught a huge break on a mind-blowing play in the final minutes.
With three minutes to go, Northwestern was driving for the go-ahead touchdown when quarterback Clayton Thorson fumbled on the 1-yard line. The ball went into the end zone and was about to go out of bounds, which would have been a touchback. The ball would have gone to Western Michigan.
Instead, a Western Michigan player inexplicably grabbed the ball, threw it back into the end zone, and it was recovered by Northwestern for what would have been a Wildcats touchdown. However, the official ruled that the Western Michigan player stepped out of bounds before throwing it back in, giving the ball to the Broncos.
Officials reviewed the play and the touchback was upheld.
A closer look at the replay does seem to show that the ball was still on the fingertips when his right foot came down out of bounds. However, if the original ruling had been a touchdown, the evidence may not have been strong enough to overturn the call.
Here are the replays. It’s close, but in the end, the call went against Northwestern and they lost the game.