IOWA CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean has saved the game for Iowa before. On Saturday night, it looked as if the OABCIG alum would do it once more following a punt return touchdown with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter giving Iowa the late lead, until it was called back. A painful blow that wiped points off the board leading to a 12-10 Hawkeye loss to Minnesota.
DeJean gathered the ball off a bounce going on to shed tackles towards one of the most electrifying runs of his career. But the play went under review once he crossed the goal line.
The explanation from Big Ten referee Tim O’Dey was that DeJean waved his arm to the side, an action that constitutes an “invalid” fair catch signal. By rule the ball is blown dead after this signal is made.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said he originally thought it was an issue of DeJean stepping out of bounds. Nevertheless, a controversial finish that had fans, Ferentz and DeJean frustrated and searching for answers.
“I never call for fair catch with my left hand ever,” Iowa junior defensive back Cooper DeJean said. “It was kind of just keeping my balance I guess and trying to run to the ball. It’s tough because I’m still kind of in shock of what all happened. It’s frustrating for this team we just kept fighting through the end of the game. Seems like it was all just taken away.”
“I was told that he was waving and what they tell us in pregame is a wave is up here, above the head,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Most people when they run their arms do wave so if you looked at the video it looked like he was naturally running to the football and then just made a great play, one of the best ones I’ve ever seen. That part is the hardest part.”
Despite the game-changing call, the Iowa offense did little to help its cause throughout the game. The Hawkeyes had only had two total yards of offense in the second half and was held to 11 total rushing yards.