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ASU-WSU officiating crew disciplined after controversial ‘fifth down’

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

The Pac-12 acknowledged the mistake made by the officiating crew in Arizona State’s loss to Washington State and announced the officials’ discipline Sunday morning.

During the second quarter of Saturday’s matchup, Washington State got a second chance at a fourth down play in the red zone because of an inadvertent whistle during their unsuccessful attempt the first time around. The re-try resulted in a touchdown that brought the Cougars within four points of the Sun Devils.

“The Pac-12 Conference has acknowledged an error by the officiating crew during Saturday night’s game between Arizona State and Washington State, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced today,” the Pac-12 said in a press release.

“The Pac-12 has reviewed the play and has determined it should have been stopped at the point when the whistle blew as forward progress was stopped short of the first down,” the press release stated. “The ball should have been turned over to Arizona State on downs. As a result, the officiating crew erred in ruling this an inadvertent whistle and not officiating the initial whistle as the end of the play.”

The line judge was given a one game suspension and the entire officiating crew was downgraded.

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