Fiesta Bowl Referee Ken Williamson on the Overturned Fumble: “The Ball Was Becoming Loose in His Hands”

By Kevin Harrish on December 29, 2019 at 3:27 am
Fiesta Bowl referee Ken Williamson gives his explanation for the overturned fumble.

A controversial call went against the Buckeyes late in the third quarter when the replay booth overturned a fumble that led to an Ohio State touchdown.

Initially, the officials on the field ruled that Clemson receiver Justyn Ross caught and fumbled a third-down pass, leading to a Jordan Fuller scoop-and-score. However, the replay booth overturned the call and ruled the pass incomplete, saying Ross did not complete the process of the catch.

Fiesta Bowl referee Ken Williamson met with the media following the game, and he stood by the call.

"We had a lot of good looks on it," Williamson said. "We put on fast motion and slow motion. The player did not complete the process of the catch, so, therefore, the pass was incomplete."

When asked for clarification, Williamson said the receiver lost control of the ball and did not complete the process of the catch when he moved.

"After the video, instant replay in the stadium as well as back at the video center, they both looked at it slow and fast and they determined when he moved, the ball was becoming loose in his hands and he did not complete the process of the catch," Williamson said.

Instead of a touchdown, Clemson punted to Ohio State on fourth down and the Buckeyes threw an interception just a few plays later.

Williamson also addressed the targeting call against Shaun Wade in the second quarter, explaining that Wade was ejected not because of the helmet-to-helmet contact with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but because he led with the crown of his helmet.

"This was a crown-of-the-helmet targeting foul. So it did eliminate a lot of other factors," Williamson said. "Initial contact was with the crown of the helmet. Then he wrapped up for the tackle. So at that point, targeting was properly called."

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