ESPN is already calling it the Bartman Bowl, in reference to notorious Cubs fan Steve Bartman.
Mack Brown's stepson, Chris Jessie, on the sideline as a member of Texas' football operations staff, answered questions from ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salter after Thursday night's Holiday Bowl, won by Texas 52-34. Jessie, at least a couple of yards on the field, was ruled to have touched the football during a live play early in the second quarter, a penalty reversing a fumble recovery for Texas at the Arizona State 44 and setting up Arizona State at the Texas 7. ASU scored on the next play to cut Texas' lead to 21-7.
Jessie insisted he didn't touch the ball. He said he was signaling for an intentional grounding penalty against Arizona State when he reflexively reached out for the football as it bounced his way with Texas players in pursuit.
Jessie's explanation to Salters: "I saw the ball coming and thought it was a forward pass. I thought the play was over, and natural instinct was to reach out [for] the ball. I backed up as soon as I realized the play was live. I didn't touch the ball."
A smiling Brown, who joined the interview and with a hand on Jessie's shoulder, said, "Our family wanted to win this game so badly he thought he'd help, so that's what he did, so good for him."
Jessie told Salters, "I felt pretty poorly. I thought momentum was going to swing ... and it did, it did. They scored on the next play. ... But we handled the game throughout."
Asked when he started to feel good about the game, "About when the clock hit triple zero in the fourth quarter. That was when I felt safe."
On Mack Brown's Texas Web site, an Associated Press story on the game doesn't mention the play.
-- Vince Langford
-- Vince Langford