WEST POINT, N.Y. – Connor Dietz has no doubt. He scored a touchdown.
“I saw the goal line, and I saw my ball cross it,” Dietz said. He said Army defenders “dragged” him out of the end zone.
Officials ruled Dietz had come a half-yard short of the end zone. At first, Dietz was not worried about the call early in the second quarter of Air Force’s 41-21 loss to Army.
He ran off the field, expecting officials to review the play and award Air Force a touchdown.
A power outage prevented officials from taking another look. The call stood.
When Troy Calhoun decided to go for a touchdown on the fourth-and-goal play, the Falcons were tied 7-7. After the non-touchdown, the Falcons never were the same. Army drove 96 yards for the go-ahead field goal and never again trailed.
Calhoun declined to emphasize the importance of the call.
“It’s one play,” he said. “That’s all it is.”
Linebacker Alex Means said the call was a crucial blow to the Falcons. Army scored the next 28 points to take a 35-7 lead.
“As soon as it happened, it deflated what we had going,” Means said. “It was gone.”
The non-touchdown began a difficult quarter for Dietz, who had thrown one interception in his Air Force career.
He threw two in the second quarter. Army used the turnovers to score a touchdown and a field goal.
On the second interception, thrown with 58 seconds left in the half, Dietz realized he had made a mistake as soon as the ball left his hand.
“I knew,” Dietz said. “It was a very dumb move on my part.”
Dietz declined to use the non-touchdown call as an excuse.
“Something like that shouldn’t change the game,” he said.
But he left no doubt about where he had ended up on the play.
Was he in the end zone?
“Yes, I was,” Dietz answered.