Note: The Pac-12 makes Coleman available through email only (so there was no opportunity for follow ups). Here are our questions and Coleman's responses -- with one clarification from Coleman relayed by Dave Hirsch, Pac-12 vice president of communications.
The play: WSU Rush Ivan McLennan stripped the ball from Christian McCaffrey in the third quarter at the WSU 20-yard line.
COUGFAN.com: Can you explain the rule(s) involved, and if the correct ruling was made by the replay booth. A few minutes after the play, ESPN broadcasters said the replay booth had informed them “…there was a tussle for the ball, the ball was not in control, so it remains with Stanford.” Is that correct and if so, why did the official on the field announced “the ruling stands” rather than the call on the field “is confirmed.”
Coleman: If the ruling on the field is not going to be changed for lack of irrefutable visual evidence (IVE), by rule the play stands. Rule 12-6-2. In such a case, after review, the Referee announces “After further review, the ruling on the field stands.”
Rule 4-2-2-a (Held ball out of bounds) and 4-2-3-a (Loose ball out of bounds) apply.
During the IR review, two things that appeared to be there, could not be confirmed. First, the Stanford offensive player appeared to be out of bounds while still touching the ball (the call on the field). Second, when the WSU defender possessed the ball, his foot appeared to be out of bounds. Since there was no irrefutable visual evidence to confirm either of these, the call on the field stood.
Note: As to ESPN TV analyst Brock Huard saying on air the replay booth had informed ESPN, “…there was a tussle for the ball, the ball was not in control, so it remains with Stanford,” Hirsch relayed Coleman’s response:
“He respectfully declines to comment on the exchange that allegedly occurred between the replay booth and the ESPN announcers,” wrote Hirsch.
The play: The officials on the field ruled WSU nickel Parker Henry intercepted a Kevin Hogan pass in the second quarter and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Cougs a 12-3 lead with the extra point try to follow. The call was reversed on replay and ruled an incompletion.
COUGFAN.com: Was there “indisputable video evidence” that the ball bounced off the turf and not the Stanford players’ hands?
Coleman: Yes, from the low end zone view, it was confirmed that the ball was on the ground and not possessed by the receiver.