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Wednesday, October 6, 2010
A comprehensive look at the Fifth Down

By David Ubben

ESPN's Tom Friend took on the Fifth Down this week, and has a great look at the circumstances surrounding one of the most controversial finishes in college football history.

Whether you remember the game or not, I'd encourage you to check it out. There's plenty of views from all kinds of perspectives, and input from people who knew the down shouldn't have happened and the few who didn't.

You can see more about the Fifth Down during College GameDay on Saturday morning.

An excerpt from Friend's story:
There are men to the north, south, east and west who deal regularly with the same flashback. There's the old coach in Westminster, Colo., who says he's sorry. There's the old coach in El Paso who says he could've called timeout to investigate. There's the old ref in Arkansas City, Kan., who says he was careless. There's the old head linesman in Jenks, Okla., who says it cost him a shot at the NFL. There's the old quarterback in Boulder, Colo., who says he was only following orders. And there's the old center in Denver who says he knew. Or thought he knew. And was told to shut up.

On Oct. 6, 1990, a football game was stolen, and the culprit was … the fates. It was a day when math teachers lost count and sure runners slipped and fell. It was a day when telephones went unanswered and a down marker played tricks with people's minds. If there were an easy explanation, it would've been explained by now. If there were any one villain, he would've surfaced. The consensus, 20 years later, is that it was a once-in-a-lifetime accident, that there will never be another football game that ends on Fifth Down. But only one man from that day is still on the playing field, only one can make sure it never happens again -- at least in his own stadium.

The insurance man.

Former Colorado coach Bill McCartney, a Missouri alum, apologizes to Mizzou and its fans.