LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) They are there every football game, those men in caps and vests moving in unison on the sideline following every play. The sideline crew ”chain gang” plays a vital role marking the line of scrimmage and distance for a first down and keeping track of the downs.They happily exist in the background, unless they mess up.Chain gangs found unwanted spotlight in two major-college games last week. In the Big Ten, Illinois was forced to turn over the ball to Nebraska after a third down because the sideline crew and officials thought it was fourth down. Even a video review failed to correct the mistake. In the Big 12, the incorrect placement of the first-down marker after a penalty resulted in Oklahoma State being wrongly awarded a first down.Illinois got the ball right back on an interception and ended up winning 14-13 at home. Kansas State, however, was adversely affected because the phantom first down kept alive a touchdown drive in Oklahoma State’s 36-34 win in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Big Ten and Big 12 both issued statements acknowledging the errors.Both incidents occurred on the weekend of the 25th anniversary of perhaps the most notorious chain-gang gaffe of all… Read full this story
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