Rutgers laterals their way to, well, a huge loss after crazy ‘touchdown’ is called back

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It was all juuuuust a bit outside for Rutgers today.

It was all juuuuust a bit outside for Rutgers today.
Image: (Getty Images)

There should be a rule in sports that if a play is so awesome, you won’t see anything like it for the rest of the decade, then it counts. No replay review. No overturns. No complaining from the other team, because they know how cool it was, too.

Conversely, it’s kind of fitting that the wildest touchdown Rutgers has scored in a generation was called back on Saturday.

It’s a thing of beauty and it’s good that it exists on video, even if it doesn’t count.

There were eight laterals. Eight! Two by the quarterback, Noah Vedral (hometown: Wahoo, Nebraska, shoutout to David Letterman), who had started the play with a short pass on 4th-and-32, because of course Rutgers had 4th-and-32. And there was 6-4, 296-pound offensive lineman Raiqwon O’Neal, on the receiving end of one of those Vedral laterals, dropping the ball, picking it up on the bounce, then flinging it backward over his head like some kind of rugby play, 10 yards back and halfway across the field directly to wide receiver Shameen Jones.

Did Jones go down before he could lateral? Probably. Was his lateral to offensive lineman Sam Vretman (hometown: Upplands Vasby, Sweden… Rutgers is doing some recruiting!) more of a forward pass than a lateral? Well, yes, absolutely it was.

So, Indiana won 37-21, moving to 2-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1991. For entertainment purposes only, yes, success would have covered the -11.5 spread for the Scarlet Knights. Alas.

Indiana opened, of course, with last week’s overtime win over Penn State, and now have a quality win over Rutgers, which beat Michigan State in the opener before the Spartans beat Michigan, 27-24, in Ann Arbor. That sets up the transitive property being tested next week when the Hoosiers host the Wolverines… probably with Indiana as the higher-ranked team. In fact, there’s a possibility that it’s No. 15 Indiana and No. 20 Michigan, which is what the matchup was the last time the Maize and Blue came to Bloomington as the lower-ranked team, which would be in 1987, for a 14-10 Indiana win.

Actually, 15 might be too low a ranking for Indiana, given that they were No. 17 this week, and in addition to No. 13 Michigan’s loss, No. 16 Kansas State took a 27-point drubbing at West Virginia.

Can we talk about how stupid it still is that Indiana-Rutgers and Kansas State-West Virginia are conference games? It’s just as stupid as that Rutgers touchdown not counting, but not as stupid as a potential college football playoff involving Notre Dame and Georgia lulling the country to sleep with their boring efficiency. More laterals, less sensible football, please.

After all, this is 2020, “sensible” and “football” have no business being used in conjunction with one another.

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