Joel Stave explained Monday the final few plays of the Wisconsin football team’s 13-7 Saturday loss to No. 17 Northwestern.
Stave wasn’t available to speak to the media immediately after the game because he was shaken up from taking a hard sack on 2nd-and-goal from the one-yard line in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
After the play, Stave got up and looked toward the sideline. Visibly confused, running back Dare Ogunbowale took the snap and spiked the ball to stop the clock with six seconds remaining, bringing up fourth down.
Stave said he is fine but is still going through the concussion protocol, saying it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to head injuries. He said after he went to the ground he felt a little “woozy.”
“I knew the situation. I knew we had to get up and get going again,” Stave said. “It was really a heads-up play by Dare to get in there and do it.”
Had Stave thrown the ball away, though, he wouldn’t have been in as precarious of a situation and the clock would have stopped.
Stave said he knows he should’ve thrown the ball out of the end zone.
“I should have just thrown it away,” Stave said. “It was pretty tight; not much to be had.”
Stave had Ogunbowale open in the right flat, but he saw a defender running with him. Stave’s fear was that Ogunbowale would be tackled short of the end zone and the clock would run, which ended up happening anyway when he took the sack.
UW head coach Paul Chryst said Stave should not have taken a sack there.
“There’s a split-second opportunity to make the throw or give us an open chance, and we didn’t do that,” Chryst said.
If Stave had thrown the ball away, the pass wouldn’t have been the most controversial of the drive. In the play before he was sacked, Stave hit wide receiver Jazz Peavy for the go-ahead touchdown.
But a review overturned the score and the Badgers wound up not finding the end zone.
“I thought it was a catch. When it goes to replay, it’s up to the [officials],” Stave said. “It’s disappointing that they came up with the conclusion that they did.”
Chryst said he received an explanation from Big Ten Director of Officials Bill Carollo, who brought up the Dez Bryant play against the Packers in last season’s NFL playoffs.
That rule has to do with completing the process of the catch, Chryst said.
“I understood what he was saying, and therefore I’m satisfied that we’ve got to move forward,” Chryst said.
All of this came after Stave’s 22-yard completion to tight end Troy Fumagalli, whose knee touched down at the one-yard line, though the play was originally ruled a touchdown.
The game ended when backup Bart Houston threw incomplete in the direction of Tanner McEvoy on a slant route. Stave said even in his state of confusion a few moments prior, he remembers everything about the final play.
“I thought it was a good read,” Stave said. “It’s tough to come in there in a situation like he had where it’s cold and you’re standing there for three-and-a-half hours and you got to come in and throw one ball.”