Late in Saturday’s game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Illinois Fighting Illini, there was a lot of confusion surrounding a fracas between the two squads following a punt. That confusion went double for the TV announcers, who weren’t at the stadium to see it happen during the commercial break.

As has been happening for a while now, and more often since the pandemic began, Fox decided not to send their broadcasting crew to Kinnick Stadium to cover the FS1 broadcast. That meant Adam Alexander and Devin Gardner were calling the game from a studio. It’s not unheard of, but one of the major problems that it presents was on display here.

For the most part, calling a game from a studio doesn’t cause too many problems. Alexander, known mostly for his play-by-play announcing of Fox’s NASCAR Xfinity Series coverage, held his own calling big plays, like this 1oo-yard kick return touchdown for Iowa.

However, the problem with this kind of setup came during the fourth quarter. Leading 2o-16, Iowa had just received the ball on an Illinois punt when FS1 went to commercial. However, that’s when the two teams got into a bit of a tussle on the sidelines. Things boiled over so much that Illinois was assessed two personal fouls for 30 yards, which moved the ball from their 17-yard-line all the way up to their 47-yard-line.

For whatever reason, the announcers didn’t see the fight or aftermath and, when they returned from commercial, they seemed confused about why Iowa was starting from the 47.

In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a catastrophe. Iowa eventually pulled away and won the game 33-23 and the events surrounding the mishap didn’t factor in a meaningful way. But imagine if that had happened right at the end of the game, or involved a score that changed the entire complexity of the game. To have announcers who aren’t even aware that major penalities have occured when their role is to explain what you’re seeing not only defeats the purpose but also makes the experience confusing and off-putting.

Hopefully, whatever loophole exists in this system gets fixed because of this scenario. Because if this happens during a critical moment in a football game with major implications, it’s going to shine a light on something Fox Sports probably doesn’t want noticed.

To be fair, they’re not the only network missing big plays these days.

[Larry Brown Sports]

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, Neighborhoods.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle.