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Football: Pac-12 reinstates McCain

Due to what the Pac-12 Conference office termed “a technical failure and resulting breakdown in communication,” Cal defensive end Chris McCain has been reinstated to play in the entirety of Saturday’s game against Portland State.

McCain was called for roughing the passer and subsequently ejected from the Northwestern game for “targeting.” However, video of the play never was reviewed, which is required before it’s determined whether the play warrants ejection.

 ”Kudos to those guys for recognizing their was a mistake and correcting it,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said after practice Monday. “ There’s a lot of conference offices that wouldn’t have had a enough guts to do what they did. So I applaud the Pac-12.”

Because the ejection occurred in the second half, McCain was to be suspended for the first half of the Portland State.

The Pac-12 conferred with the national coordinator of officiating, and the two parties agreed that the “roughing” penalty was properly enforced but that McCain should be reinstated because the “targeting” rule was not properly reviewed.

McCain was happy to get the news, but not particularly surprised.

“I was excited. I was expecting it to happen,” he said. “A lot of people thought it was going to go the right way.”

The Pac-12 disciplined the replay team for the procedural breakdown.

Jeff Faraudo

  • rotfogel

    That call was THE momentum changer. Super weak call, really really dumb rule. I get it, but the new rule was interpreted very poorly. Pac 12 refs need to really be careful calling that penalty, it can kill a teams momentum and take a good/great player out very easily. Very poorly called.

    Wow, sad game ultimately but I really like how the team looks. I think you could see how much Forbes was missed on a few of those big draw runs by NWs Rbs.

    How freaking good do Treggs and Harper look! How refreshing was it to see several bombs thrown that the Cal QB actually gave the WR a chance to compete for, and some were on the money.

    Tough loss though. Those horrific INTs can’t be seen as fluky either, they could happen again.

  • Brian

    Completely agree. The air went out of the stadium/balloon after that bad call. It was palpable. (Now, Mr. McCain did NOT acquit himself well by bowing on his way out on national TV).

  • southseasbear

    McCain was not showboating when he bowed on his way out but was acknowledging the support of the crowd (particularly in the North endzone).

  • Hungry

    I was among those cheering for him in the North end zone. He’s a great sport. Some of the late hits on Goff after throwing was even worse in my opinion – for example the first pick-6.

  • Rob Bear

    Justice! With Extreme Prejudice!

  • NapaBear

    I was at that end of the stadium and it seemed apparent to me McCain was acknowledging the profuse cheers of the crowd rather than doing any kind of showboating.

    Very nice- we lose our best defensive lineman on a bogus call while Nortwestern gets off scot-free with their defensive linemen having an unrelenting stream of fake injuries in the fourth quarter. Made lovelier by the fact that Fizgerald got all huffy when Dykes confronted him about at the end of the game. This was followed up by the Lance Armstrong ” anyone who questions my integrity I question their integrity” response at the press conference afterwards.

    I had really been drinking the ” isn’t Northwestern and Pat Fitzgerald a great story” purple koolaid up to then. Jerk. I’m glad Dykes didn’t let him skate away with it, yet didn’t go overboard on it either.

  • GoldenTrailsDave

    How about the fair catch in the first half when our guy (Treggs?) got hit anyways? What was that?!?

  • covinared

    still he foolishly hit the qb late with the game on the line. he is in his third year. time for him to play smart.

  • Pingback: Cal player reinstated by Pac-12 after targeting penalty | CollegeFootballTalk

  • Eric

    I don’t understand this – during the game the officials on the field said there was a review and it was confirmed. How can that be? As I wrote after the game, the call was terrible – I personally question whether it was even roughing the passer (close, but I see much more obvious ones not get called) but to toss the guy out was inexcusable. And it was a momentum shift. The entire officiating crew should suffer the same fate – miss an entire game that they otherwise would have covered.

  • NapaBear

    Covinared is right- McCain made an unwise play, even if it wasn’t worthy of an ejection.

  • Drizzlyboy

    Kudos to the Pac-12 for removing our best defensive lineman due to an error, then admitting their error when it does Cal absolutely no good. I feel so much better about Pac-12 officiating now. “We’ll get the call right–or close to right–eventually!” Wow, what a low standard of professionalism. Reinstating McCain for one half against Portland State has very little impact compared to having removed him inappropriately from a tough game with the outcome still very much in question.

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    6) Dave, I wondered about this play too. Treggs really did not make a clear “fair catch” sign by waving his hand, all he did was barely get his hand above his shoulder. It looked like he might have started to make the sign and then decided not to do it.

  • Eric

    @6 & 11 – I was sitting right on the goal line on that side of the field. Treggs undoubtedly made the fair catch sign, which is why he made no effort to run, and then raised his hands. Even the defender knew it.

    I’d like to know more about the McCain replay. They said on the field they did review the play and it was confirmed. This doesn’t square with what the Pac-12 is now saying. Either they did review it and it was a mistake by them not to reverse, or they didn’t review it and the official on the field was not being truthful.

    And I still want to know why NW got the ball on our two when we committed PI in the endzone but we didn’t when NW committed PI in the endzone (the play where the NW player was injured).

  • Boaltblue

    Southseasbear is entirely correct in his comment, “3.McCain was not showboating when he bowed on his way out but was acknowledging the support of the crowd (particularly in the North endzone).” There were many in the Gold Zone giving McCain a longlasting standing ovation for what we saw as a clean hit.

    As for my brother Eric, thank you for your last two comments, which are spot on.

    Finally, this team should fear no one as they can hang with any of the opponents on our schedule.

  • bluenosepit455

    ok so they could not replay but in the the game you watch the footage they say the replay confirms the targeting .. hmm k what ever was that a bookie call?

  • 1brsfan

    @Eric- I believe NW got the ball at the 2 because the line of scrimmage was inside the 15 yard line where the 15 yd penalty would have put the ball in the endzone. Ours was at or near midfield so the 15 yds were assessed. I don’t agree with it because in my eyes both plays had the same exact effect of negating the possibility of a TD regardless of the line of scrimmage. They should change the rule to be like the NFL which is spot of the foul or 2 yd line if it’s in the endzone.

  • Olsbear

    # 7 and # 9, I have to disagree. He hit the QB mask to mask a fraction of a second after the release. There are two questions both based on that amount of time. 1. How is he supposed to stop after selling out to get there in time. 2. How is supposed to evaluate whether or not he will get there in time, and then after deciding he will not, make the call to pull up or avoid contact in that amount of time. That’s unrealistic to the extreme (especially when it happens in real time as opposed to slow motion.) Think about when a signal turns yellow when you are in no man’s land and you have to make the call whether or not you have enough room to hit the breaks or whether you have to gun it to make it through before it turns red–not all that different. I understand the need to protect the passer and the players in general, and I agree; however, intent, or lack thereof, has to count for something. Roughing the passer has always been and should remain a penalty for a defender that takes a pot shot at a “defenseless” player when that player’s “contribution” to the play is over. Usually, the defensive player has another step or two to take before making contact, and his intent is to get into the QBs head. If you watched the play, there is no way you can say that about McCain. To further illustrate the point, the guys doing it right will usually bear hug the QB to keep him up, or pull off in those situations. McCain simply didn’t have that kind of time. This was an aggressive CLEAN play. 15 yards on that? Still disagree given the element of time and ability to change course in the limited amount of time, but I understand it was a close call, and for the time being the stripes will error on the side of safety. Ejection? Inexcusible and counter-productive.

    The NCAA wants to call it hard nose or a strong message of deterrence, but how do you deter someone from not being able to stop their body mass in less than a second. The only way is for them to change the way they play the position entirely, and that is why this kid of rule scares me. If you play it out to the logical conclusion the entire concept of the pass rush becomes a thing of the past because guys/programs will be too gun-shy to make contact when its close (especially since one can only hit the quarterback between the neck and the belt)–It’s just too easy to either mis-time, or miss the target however slightly.

    At the end of the day, intent has to count for something, and most of the time, all we have is the circumstantial evidence provided by watching the play. (i.e., did the defender take another step before contact/ did the QB finish his follow through, or did the defender spear or dive in with his helmet first (Note: McCain did not do that, he got into a tackling position which tends to put the head in front of the body, but he lead with his face mask, not the crown of his helmet.)) It seems to me, that more times than not, it’s pretty obvious when a play is made with the intent to injury/ intimidate/ etc…, as opposed to a legitimate attempt to effect the actual play/ an inability to stop forward momentum in a fraction of a second.

    On a related note, I couldn’t help but think about the possible benefit of teaching these guys to get their hands up once through the line, and on the way to the QB. Yes, it will slow them down and lessen the chance for a sack; however, it increases the chances of an errant throw, a batted pass (anyone see a benefit to that after the game), and less of a chance of leading with the head and thus “targeting.” Had McCain had his hands up, given how close he was to the release, he may very well have deflected the pass, or at least forced the QB to alter his release, aim, or even hesitate on the throw. Just an idea, but given the rule, it seems like a reasonable adjustment.

  • Eric

    @1brsfan – thanks. Not sure I agree with the rule, but at least it explains what happened.

    Bad news on Sebastian. Talk about the injury bug biting.

  • CalBearister

    @1brsfan…I went to the stats and think I have the answer, as this irked me during the game as well.

    The defensive pass interference rule is that it’s a spot foul if committed inside 15 yards, or a 15 yard penalty if committed outside 15 yards. And then it’s an exception to the half-the-distance rule. Which is then subject to an exception where the ball can’t be spotted inside the 2…unless of course it’s snapped from inside the 3…in which case it’s half the distance to the goal (yeah, that’s all logical).

    Our PI call was 15 yards from the Northwestern 27, spotted at the Northwestern 12, which was the correct call.

    Their PI call was 15 yards from the Cal 17, spotted at the Cal 2. The only reason I can see them saying it was spotted a the 2 “by rule” is that the LOS was just inside the 17, so the ball was at the 2 yard line, not the 1.x yard line.

    They could have done a better job explaining it, but I think they got it right. Unlike the fair catch…or the roughing the passer, etc.

  • 1brsfan

    @calbearister- thanks for the explanation. So it was just coincidence that the ball was placed at the 2 yd line which is where the NFL places it when the PI is in the endzone.