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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 12 2010

Bison football: NDSU comes up short on the booth reviews

CHENEY, Wash. – Replay technology didn’t go North Dakota State’s way Saturday afternoon.

The Bison didn’t get the better of a couple of booth reviews and both plays had an impact in Eastern Washington’s 38-31 overtime win in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals. When NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen’s stretch for the end zone was ruled a fumble on the field, life stood still in Cheney.

Fans that swarmed the field had to be ushered off while an official in the press box looked at the video replay. The booth official has the authority to buzz the on-field official on any play, and that was the case on the final play.

It was a dramatic wait.

“I thought he was down for sure, but what do I know,” said NDSU offensive lineman Paul Cornick.

Said Bison linebacker Preston Evans: “It’s a tough situation to sit there and wait it out. But that’s how the cards fell today.”

The ruling was there was not enough evidence to overturn the officials’ call on the field and the Eagles celebrated.

“Anxiety,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “It’s out of your hands and that’s always tough.”

FCS teams rarely play with the replay system. NDSU had it against Kansas, Iowa State and Minnesota in the last two years – three Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

“I appreciate the replay system,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “Obviously, it’s a good thing and we were pleased it was used today. I think for me to make any comment obviously is dangerous to do. That puts us on a slippery slope.”

There were three replays in the game, and none of the on-the-field calls were overturned. NDSU recovered an Eastern Washington fumble, a play that was upheld in the booth.

Officials up in the booth called for another look of a third-and-4 pass from EWU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to Greg Herd that went for 5 yards and a first down in the first quarter.

It was a low throw on the sideline that replays appeared to show the ball grazing the turf. But the call on the field was ruled correct and the Eagles scored on the next play when Taiwan Jones went 69 yards to make it 14-0.

“You don’t face that situation very often at our level,” Baldwin said. “The replay is used by the big boys. The good thing is they’re going to get it right. You look at the three plays and the officials did a great job. All three stood on what was called on the field.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia