SIDELINE PENALTY CALLED AFTER OFFICIAL CRASHED INTO FORMER OKLAHOMA GREAT
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. 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 but Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops joked that he never thought the past player would have an impact on one of the games he coached.
“I think he was frustrated with nobody being able to stop Tavon Austin,” Mike Stoops said laughing. “I think he was trying to tackle him.”
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