It might be a few years before Canadian university football is big enough to have replay reviews like the NFL, CFL and NCAA, but the Laurier Golden Hawks wish it had existed. Last Saturday, the young Golden Hawks lost in overtime to the Windsor Lancers in part due to a blown call on a catch by receiver Anthony Pizzuti in the right corner of the end zone in the final minutes of the game.
Pizzuti won the jump ball with two Windsor defensive backs and clearly got a foot down inside the boundary for quarterback James Fracas' pass, which would have given Laurier a 29-25 lead with not nearly enough time for the Lancers to properly respond. Instead, he was called out of bounds. Laurier rookie head coach Michael Faulds said game officials "later apologized" to him for the blown call.
Laurier had to settle for a tying field goal from Ronnie Pfeffer to send the game to overtime. Windsor squeaked by 26-25 thanks to their kicker's single on a missed field goal and their defence blocking Laurier's 41-yard attempt because, Canadian university football.
The result all but assured the two schools in Waterloo, Ont., Laurier and Waterloo, will both miss the Yates Cup playoffs for the first time since 1984. May I express how long ago that was in a way only university sport nerds will get? Mount Allison made the Vanier Cup that fall.
"From our vantage point, it's tough," Faulds, whose team bench area was on the opposite sideline, said of the controversial call. "I was even asking our guys in the booth. But with the beer garden there it's a tough angle to see."
A post-game coach quote that mentions the beer garden. You don't hear that every day.
Officials in an amateur league such as Ontario University Athletics are going to make mistakes, just like the players. But there's imperfections and there are just out-and-out blown calls. It would probably be a bigger deal if the Windsor-Laurier contest had been on Sportsnet 360 or if the Golden Hawks were in more serious contention. As it happens, the outcome gave the Lancers (4-2 with two games and a bye to go in the regular season) a leg up in the race with Ottawa (3-3) and McMaster (2-3) for fourth place in the OUA and a home playoff game.
The Lancers have not hosted a playoff game themselves since 2006. Kudos to coach Joe D'Amore's team if they pull that off, but remember this play if they do.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com (video: Lot59 productions).