It happened in the second quarter with under two minutes left. UNC had 3rd and 12 with the ball on their own 15 yard line. Trubisky ran a quarterback draw up the middle and caught the umpire off guard. The umpire tried desperately to get out of the way, but his hand ended up knocking the football out of Trubisky's hand, and Stanford's defense recovered.
Fumble forced by… THE UMPIRE???https://t.co/4XiwKEDEM6— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 30, 2016
It may be ironic that the umpire's name is Tom Quick. Today he was a bit too slow.
Since the officials are considered part of the field, any accidental contact with a player is considered part of the play. However, it doesn't seem fair in this case, as it arguably changed the flow of the game. Couldn't they just call it a do-over?
On the other hand, Trubisky should have taken better care of the football. If he was holding it loose enough that a referee was able to knock the ball out of his hands, surely a Stanford defender would have done the same.
As luck would have it, Stanford ended up kicking a field goal to extend their lead to 13-7, which they held heading into halftime. They ended up winning the Sun Bowl 25-23.