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OU football: Forced touching on Sooners' onside kick not replay reviewable, Big 12 officials coordinator says

NORMAN — Whether freshman Trejan Bridges was blocked into the ball during Oklahoma’s onside kick in the final minutes of its game against Kansas State was not reviewable, Big 12 coordinator of football officials Greg Burks said on Monday.

The rules say replays can look at timing of blocks and touching by the kicking team, Oklahoma, but not forced touching. So during the review Saturday, the officials were only looking to see if Bridges touched the ball illegally.

“I know there’s been discussion about forced touching, but I want to clarify that if you don’t have a touch ruled on the field, you obviously can’t have forced touching,” Burks said. “Even if you did the question of forced touching is not something that falls under the replay review guidelines.”

Burks said he doesn’t believe forced touching occurred anyway.

The ruling on the field was a recovery by Oklahoma with 1:43 left to play, but the reversal of the call gave the ball to Kansas State and ultimately sealed the Sooners’ 48-41 loss to the Wildcats. Bridges touched the ball at the 44-yard line, before it had gone 10 yards.

The replay Saturday took about three minutes, Burks said, which is twice as long as the time the officials typically attempt to have the review done in. Burks said extra time was taken to make sure they had every TV angle and a clear shot of the touch. “Everybody was on board” to review the play because of how significant it was, he said.

“If we didn’t have actual film, we wouldn’t have changed the ruling,” Burks said. “We couldn’t assume.”

Burks spoke with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley about all of this, and explained everything that was and wasn’t reviewable.

“Our conversation was around the rule, and he expressed his thoughts that that should be part of replay,” Burks said.

Riley spoke about his conversation with Burks on the Big 12 coaches conference call Monday morning. He echoed what he was told him about forced touching not being reviewable.

“It's a tough call, it's a bang-bang call,” Riley said. “It's happening pretty fast. When it went to replay, it just kind of one of those gray areas or one of those areas where, at least the rules right now, prevent replay from looking at it or from being able to decide if he was blocked or not. It was a restriction of the rules in replay that just did not go in our favor.”

Related Photos
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley celebrates after a blocked punt during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. Oklahoma won 52-14. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley celebrates after a blocked punt during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. Oklahoma won 52-14. [Bryan Terry/The...

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Abby Bitterman

Abby Bitterman covers OU athletics for The Oklahoman. She joined The Oklahoman in September 2019 to cover high school sports. A Chicago native, Abby graduated from the University of Oklahoma in May of 2019 with degrees in journalism and political... Read more ›

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