It went in the books as a 2-yard completion negated by a subsequent crack-back block and targeting penalty.
But it was much more interesting for those who actually watched it.
With the University of Washington football team’s 31-7 victory over California on Saturday essentially decided early in the fourth quarter, and the Huskies facing second-and-10 from their own 13-yard line, quarterback Cyler Miles threw a pass to sophomore receiver John Ross behind the line of scrimmage.
Ross caught the ball at the 10-yard line near the right sideline, and juked a few defenders before weaving his way to the other side of the field.
More jukes. More blocks. And, eventually, forward progress. Ross did a good enough job avoiding running into his own teammates and dodged so many Cal defenders that he reached a point when there was nothing between him and the end zone … except for Huskies right tackle Coleman Shelton, whom Ross ran square into, falling to the turf and fumbling the ball near midfield.
“I even got out there and tried to block for him,” Miles said. “But I don’t think I was successful in getting anybody.”
The play was reviewed, and the officials ruled Ross was down before fumbling. But tight end Joshua Perkins was called for an illegal crack-back block near the beginning of the play, as well as targeting a defenseless player, and by rule, was ejected from the game.
The penalty wiped out one of the Huskies’ wildest plays of the season. And it exasperated a number of Huskies fans who used Twitter to express their frustration with what many seemed to think was an incorrect call against Perkins.
Players ejected for targeting face a one-half suspension from their team’s next game, though the Pac-12 office has the ability to overturn such a decision if it deems the official’s call was in error.
Huskies coach ChrisPetersen and offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith each said they didn’t see Perkins’ block.
“I know he hit him high,” Petersen said, “and so hopefully we get a look at it and make sure … I think they can review those, so we don’t lose him again for a half for the next game.”
Ross said he had a similar play earlier this week in practice. But that one didn’t end with a collision.
“We kind of made eye contact,” Ross said with a laugh. “So I kind of felt like it was a defender. He should get a stat for that. I’m just joking. I saw him, but I think he was just trying to come back and block.”
Ross finished with four catches for a career-high 118 yards — his first game with more than 100 receiving yards as a Husky — and an 86-yard touchdown catch. He has caught 13 passes for a team-best 358 yards and four touchdowns.
“He’s special, man,” Smith said. “He’s really dynamic. … We’ve got to keep finding ways to get it to him.”
RIVA BACK, BRIEFLY
Fifth-year senior Ben Riva returned from a right knee injury to start at right tackle, but was replaced by Shelton after the Huskies’ first series and didn’t play after the first quarter.
Riva had missed four of the Huskies’ previous five games due to injury.