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Fourth-quarter sideline penalty was called after official crashed into Joe Washington

by Jason Kersey Published: November 19, 2012
Former Sooner great Joe Washington took a big hit Saturday in West Virginia, where an official crashed into Washington on the sideline. The incident caused an OU sideline interference penalty. PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN
Former Sooner great Joe Washington took a big hit Saturday in West Virginia, where an official crashed into Washington on the sideline. The incident caused an OU sideline interference penalty. PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN
NORMAN — It’s probably been years since Joe Washington took a hit like the one he felt Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.

Midway through the fourth quarter of Oklahoma’s 50-49 win at West Virginia, Mountaineers superstar Tavon Austin burst through the Sooner defense for a 54-yard gain to OU’s 31.

When penalty flags were thrown during the play, it initially appeared that Austin’s impressive run was coming back because of a Mountaineer hold or illegal block.

But instead, Oklahoma was flagged for two penalties: a 15-yard illegal use of hands call on defensive back Julian Wilson, and a sideline interference call.

That’s where Washington, former standout Sooner running back and current executive director of the Varsity “O” association, was involved.

An official, trying to keep in front of Austin’s run, sprinted down the field on the thick, white-painted area separating the field of play from those on the sideline.

Washington was standing in that area watching the play when the official, who wasn’t looking ahead, crashed into Washington.

Both the official and Washington fell over and quickly got back up. A nearby witness said Washington wasn’t injured.

The two fouls moved the Mountaineer offense to OU’s 8-yard line, from which Geno Smith hit Stedman Bailey for a go-ahead touchdown on the very next play.

Washington, one of Oklahoma’s greatest all-time players, is on vacation and couldn’t be reached for comment.

The College Football Hall of Famer rushed for 4,071 yards and 39 touchdowns between 1972-75, was part of two OU national championship teams and twice was a first-team All-American.

Washington also played 10 NFL seasons after leaving OU, retiring with 4,839 rushing yards, 3,413 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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