"When a backward pass goes out of bounds between the goal lines, the ball belongs to the passing team at the out-of-bounds spot," said referee Todd Geerlings in a postgame statement.
Both head coaches agreed that the correct call was made on the field.
"It's a backwards pass and because it obviously wasn't intentional, he didn't intentionally slap the ball forward, the ruling is it goes where the ball goes out of bounds…It's not a fumble because we never had possession of it," said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini.
Gophers' coach Jerry Kill shared a similar sentiment but found the rule somewhat flawed.
"The ball was pitched backwards, and because it was pitched backwards and fumbled, it's the right call. Like I told the official, I was very honest with him, I said, ‘You know what? How can we reward somebody in the game of football for a mistake?'"
Cornerback Kyle Henderson explained what he thought of the call.
"That was really a funky play," he said. "Either way it goes the other team is going to want it."
With the Gophers down by just a field goal at that point, the play became a huge momentum boost for the Huskers, deflating the Maroon and Gold defense.
"Was that a big swing in the game? It was huge," stated Kill.
After the play, the Huskers continued their drive, scoring just two plays later on a pass from Martinez to Tyler Legate. Nebraska went on to rack up 41 points on the night, beating the Gophers by a score of 41-14.