Hawkeye euphoria quickly turned to pandemonium in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.
Fans trashed the field when Cooper DeJean’s late punt return for a touchdown was erased by a replay review to see if he stepped out of bounds.
The call from the booth? An invalid fair catch signal.
According to the rulebook, a player is supposed to wave his hand from side-to-side, indicating he does not plan on advancing the football.
However, DeJean doesn’t think that’s what he did.
“I did not personally,” DeJean said when asked if he thought he signaled for a fair catch — valid or otherwise. “I was just trying to run and pick up the ball. I never call a fair catch with my left hand ever. … It’s tough… I’m still kind of in shock of what all happened. It’s frustrating for this team. I know we kept fighting through the end of the game … seemed like it was just all taken away in one play.”
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz expected a fine before even saying a word about the play in his postgame news conference.
“I’ll start out by saying whatever I do say, hopefully if the Big Ten deems it necessary to fine me hopefully they will find it in their hearts to send it to a good cause — like the children’s hospital would be a good place to start,” Ferentz said. “Well, again I thought it started was the in bounds, out of bounds, and we went from there to pointing, which is illegal, because you know, errant punt. Then I was told that he was waving, and what they tell us in pregame is the wave is up here above the head. Most people when they run, their arms do wave. If you look at the video, it looked like he was naturally running to the football and he just made a great play, one of the best ones I’ve ever seen. That part is the hardest part. An unbelievable effort gets taken off the board. … It’s bad because what gets worse is the explanations you get. I thought we were talking about in bounds, out of bounds. I thought we started there. So you know, how it — I guess we are in a whole new world. Whole new world.”
“The receiver makes a pointing gesture with his right hand and he makes multiple waving gestures with his left hand. If you look at the video you’ll see that. That waving motion of the left hand constitutes an invalid fair catch signal. So when the receiving team recovers the ball, by rule it becomes dead.”
O’Dey said the review showed “indisputable evidence that there is a waving motion with the left hand. And that is when these rules are applied.”
One of the most bizarre endings to a college football game just took place at Kinnick Stadium and regardless of how anybody feels about the call, Iowa loses the Floyd of Rosedale trophy for the first time since 2014. After a bye, they’ll be back at it in a couple of weeks against Northwestern in Wrigley Field.