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100 Things Cyclone Fans Need to Forget Before They Die: Tony Yelk’s Field Goal in the Independence Bowl


In Seneca Wallace’s first season in Ames, the talented junior led the Cyclones to an Independence Bowl appearance against the Alabama Crimson Tide. That’s right. Iowa State played a bowl game against Alabama. Was it peak Bama? No, but we don’t have to tell anyone that.

During a tough defensive battle, Alabama scored a touchdown with 4:44 left to take a 14-13 lead. Seneca took the team down the field to the opponent’s 32 yard line, even overcoming an offensive pass interference call on Lane Danielsen. With 51 seconds to play, Tony Yelk lined up for the field goal.

Given the lack of instant replay during this game, the call was never reviewed, and the Cyclones lost the Independence Bowl 14-13. Upon close examination The ball appears to go over the upright, possibly just inside of the center of the post. The NCAA rule just says “between the goal posts,” but doesn’t have any language addressing a situation in which the ball travels directly over the goal post. The NFL rule is more clear:


Section 4 Field Goal

Article 1 Successful Field Goal.

A field goal is scored when all of the following conditions are met: (a) The kick must be a placekick or dropkick made by the offense from behind the line of scrimmage or from the spot of a fair catch (fair-catch kick). If a fair catch is made or awarded outside the inbounds line, the spot of the kick is the nearest inbounds line. (b) After the ball is kicked, it must not touch the ground or any player of the offensive team before it passes through the goal. (c) The entire ball must pass through the vertical plane of the goal, which is the area above the crossbar and between the uprights or, if above the uprights, between their outside edges. If the ball passes through the goal, and returns through the goal without striking the ground or some object or person beyond the goal, the attempt is unsuccessful.

The key words in the rule are outside edges. The ball clearly passes between the outside of the edges of the goal posts. Thus, in the NFL, the field goal is good. In the NCAA, it’s completely left to the interpretation of the officials, which is never a good thing.

For my money, we got robbed.