25 Most Epic College Football Games of All Time – Bleacher Report
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When: Oct. 6, 1990
College football has plenty of hard-to-comprehend rules, but one of its simplest involves down and distance. The offense has four downs to gain 10 yards or reach the end zone. Otherwise, the ball is turned over to the other team.
For some reason, though, the officials working the Colorado-Missouri game in 1990 felt Colorado was worthy of an extra shot at scoring its winning touchdown.
And thus begot the “Fifth Down Game,” one of the biggest officiating blunders in college football history.
Colorado had a 1st-and-goal from inside Missouri’s 4-yard line with 31 seconds left, and with the clock running, quarterback Charles Johnson spiked the ball. An Eric Bieniemy run got the Buffaloes inside the 1, and they called timeout.
During the break, however, the down marker on the sideline wasn’t flipped from second to third down.
When Bieniemy was stuffed on the next play, Colorado spiked it again thinking it was third down when it was really fourth down. Given an extra play, Johnson scored on a keeper for the winning touchdown as Missouri fans began to run on the field in celebration of what they thought was a home victory.
Colorado would go on to share the national championship with Georgia Tech thanks to that extra down.