There was more than one close call in the final minutes of the Belk Bowl. One almost cost Kentucky a chance to score the final touchdown.
A play after Chris Rodriguez was stuffed on third and two — a call many Kentucky fans were not happy with after the game — Lynn Bowden’s number was called with 1:01 to play on fourth and one.
Bowden lowered his shoulder into a group of bodies at the line of scrimmage. As the pile stalled, officials blew the play dead just past the line to gain. As the dust settled, Virginia Tech linebacker Alan Tisdale ran from the pile with the ball in his hand. If you don’t specifically remember the play, watch it unfold below.
Kentucky quickly got to the line of scrimmage to snap the ball. While the chains moved and the official set the ball, Justin Fuente argued the play should be reviewed. After the game he recalled his interaction with the official and explained why he didn’t burn a timeout to give replay officials more time to reconsider.
“They review all that stuff,” Fuente said. “The whole taking a challenge flag timeout deal in college football, they’re reviewing it. The guy tells me that they reviewed it and it’s been confirmed, don’t waste your timeout. They said it was it stopped forward progress or whatever it was, but he said don’t even don’t waste it.”
Kentucky snapped the ball quickly once it was set, however, the video does not illustrate how long it took officials to set the ball and start the clock. The umpire waited a solid 30 seconds before the Big 12 replay official radioed instructions to continue play.
Did Bowden actually keep possession of the football before the referees blew the play dead to forward progress? Luckily for Kentucky, there was not a camera angle to prove otherwise.