TEMPE, Ariz. — Joel Stave stumbled as he kneeled, and plopped the ball on the turf.
Trying to set his team up for a winning field goal, Wisconsin’s quarterback instead triggered a wave of confusion that lingered long after Arizona State’s 32-30 win over the 20th-ranked Badgers on Saturday night.
Trailing by two, the Badgers reached the Sun Devils’ 13-yard line with 18 seconds left. Hoping to set up kicker Kyle French in the middle of the field for a field goal, Wisconsin called for Stave run left from the right hash mark and take a knee. But as Stave went to kneel, he was clipped by one of his lineman and went down as he placed the ball on the 15.
Arizona State’s players — thinking it was a fumble — piled on the ball, costing Wisconsin precious seconds.
After the Sun Devils were pulled off the ball, one of the officials briefly held the Badgers at the line of scrimmage, costing them even more time.
The Badgers couldn’t get a play off in time.
After gathering briefly on the field, the officials trotted off past the stunned Badgers.
“It was a shame it went down the way it went down at the end, and that’s really all I want to say about it,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said.