Controversial play leads to injury of star player in ASU's loss to Colorado

Posted at 7:30 PM, Oct 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-07 00:50:45-04

For Arizona State Sun Devils fans, it was another frustrating Saturday after a controversial play helped lead to yet another defeat.

In the third quarter of ASU's road matchup vs. Colorado, star Sun Devil wide receiver and projected first-round NFL Draft pick N'Keal Harry was hit by Colorado linebacker Drew Lewis during a punt return. The problem: Lewis clearly returned to the field after running out of bounds for a considerable portion of the play.

Harry reportedly suffered a right thigh injury on the play, and ASU went on to lose to Colorado 28-21 to fall to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in Pac-12 play. The No. 21-ranked Buffaloes improved to 5-0.

According to the NCAA rulebook: A player who goes out of bounds during a kick may only return inbounds during the play if he is blocked out of bounds and "attempts to return inbounds immediately."

This didn't appear to be the case for Lewis, who ran behind players and coaches on the sideline before returning to make the hit on Harry -- but no penalty was called.

Yahoo Sports' Sam Cooper, however, contended the play was legal. "ASU fans will likely have qualms with the word 'immediately' in the rule above as it relates to Lewis’ hit ... Nonetheless, that’s how it was ruled by the officiating crew," adding, "it was legal no matter how much it may look otherwise."

“I got doubled teamed at first, pushed out of bounds. I kept on going because I knew the play was going on," Lewis told Sun Devil Source after the game. "As soon as I got back in-bounds I don’t think [Harry] saw me at all. So I kind of blind-sided him, I think."

For what it's worth: After the game, ASU coach Herm Edwards didn't seem upset about the play.

The play came three weeks after ASU lost to San Diego State after a late pass completion was reversed afterreview, preventing the Devils from having a quality chance to tie the game in the final seconds.