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Central Michigan stuns No. 22 Oklahoma State

Central Michigan stuns No. 22 Oklahoma State
Published On: Fri, Sep 09
Sep 19, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; dMichigan State Spartans linebacker Andrew Dowell (5) celebrates fumble recovery during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Central Michigan, literally out of time, stunned No. 22-ranked Oklahoma State on the final play of the game on Saturday, completing a wild 30-27 upset that lingers with controversy.

Following the game, game referee Tim O'Dey -- heading a crew of Mid-America Conference officials -- told a pool reporter that the game's final play, a 51-yard Hail Mary for the game-winning score, should not have occurred.

Except the play did happen, and beyond an unprecedented overturn of the result, goes down as a Chippewas victory.

On a play designed to run the final four seconds off the clock, with the Cowboys leading 27-24, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph took the snap, and after bouncing in the pocket for a few seconds, heaved the ball deep and out of bounds, and players from both teams spilled on to the field believing the game was over.

The Cowboys, however, were penalized for intentional grounding and Central Michigan was given one untimed down with the ball at its own 49.

From there, Chippewas quarterback Cooper Rush fired deep to Jesse Kroll, who then lateraled to receiver Corey Willis, with Willis outracing Cowboys cornerback Ashton Lampkin into the end zone.

"To be honest, I actually had a missed assignment on that play," Willis said. "I wasn't supposed to be right there, but it all worked out for the better."

Except for Oklahoma State.

It wasnt until after the game that the officiating error came to light.

"There's a rule that says that the game cannot end on an accepted live-ball foul," O'Dey said. "That's the rule. There's an exception to the rule that says if enforcement of the foul involves the loss of down, then that brings the game to an end."

That was the case Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium, where the game should have, but didn't end with Rudolph's throw.

Instead, it ended with Rush's heave, which found Kroll at the 9-yard-line, where he was swarmed under, but not before pitching the ball to Willis.

"In that situation, we're telling our guys to never go down with the ball," Central Michigan coach John Bonamego said. "It's touchdown or turnover there.

"So (Kroll) alertly found Corey Willis, who was in the trail position there, and Corey did the rest. It's an improbable finish, but it's a situation that we've practiced and rehearsed and we were able to execute and find a way to win."

The Cowboys practice and rehearse it, too.

"At least twice a practice," Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said.

The wild ending wiped out an Oklahoma State rally, as the Cowboys went ahead on a touchdown with 5:12 remaining, then intercepted Rush's pass with 3:10 remaining.

The Cowboys ran 3:06 off the clock before Rudolph's final incomplete pass.

And Rush's conquering completion, stunning Oklahoma State's players and fans.

"That's a tough locker room to be in," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "College football is about Sunday through Thursday preparation, and (walk-through) on Friday.

"So whether it's a big win or whether it's a loss that's very difficult to swallow, like this one, I told the team that we expect them to come back tomorrow ready to go to work."

Before the final flurry, the game went back and forth.

Oklahoma State led 14-0, before Rush got into a rhythm, rallying Central Michigan to a 24-20 lead in the fourth quarter.

Rush finished 30-of-42 passing for 361 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Tyler Conklin caught seven Rush tosses for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

Rudolph completed 27 of 44 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Jalen McCleskey posted 11 catches for 103 yards and one score.

Up next for Oklahoma State is a visit from Pittsburgh to Stillwater on Saturday. Central Michigan returns home to face UNLV.

NOTES: Oklahoma State backup kicker Matt Ammendola, getting an opportunity to utilize his big leg, booted a 53-yard field goal in the first half. The kick was three yards shy of the school record of 56 yards, set by Larry Roach against Kansas in 1981. ... The teams rosters were constituted in far different ways. While Oklahoma State leans heavily on recruiting the state of Texas for its talent and lists only 19 players from Oklahoma, Central Michigan has built its team mostly in state, with 83 players from Michigan representing 79 percent of the roster. ... The Cowboys lost for the first time in six games against teams from the Mid-American Conference.

Read the complete news article here...


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