The Big 12 Championship game between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday generated the kind of controversy-filled controversy that inspires legions of college football fans to fill stadiums and sports bars every weekend.
But it turned out that the real competition was not between the football teams (Texas won a unilateral affair 49-21), but between two college students competing in the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway challenge at halftime, a college football tradition.
Each student had to throw as many footballs as they could into their respective Dr Pepper brand container, five yards away within the allotted time.
University of Pennsylvania freshman Ryan Georgian and Ohio State junior Gavin White were tied at 10 points apiece at the end of regulation, forcing overtime.
They each had another 15-second period to take the lead and claim the victory.
As the whistle blew, they dug into their soccer balls and threw them from chest level toward the opening of the container, each shot ricocheting hard off the target, like corn popping in a teapot.
In the final second, Georgian tied the score at 16, forcing a sudden-death shootout in a second overtime.
Georgian would win, but fans were quick to point out there was a problem.
The game should not have gone to double overtime, fans complained and Dr Pepper later acknowledged.
A video review showed Georgian only added five points to its score in the first period. He was credited with six, enough to force a tie.
Online, the college football world roared. Fans cried and begged the soft drink giant to serve “Justice for Gavin.”
Shortly after, Dr. Pepper said it would rectify the situation.
“In a dramatic double-overtime Dr Pepper license plate draw during the Big 12 Conference championship game, a technical error on the field resulted in an inaccurate accounting of the double tiebreaker,” the company said. in a sentence, who did not elaborate on what went wrong.
“As such, Dr Pepper will recognize both finalists as grand prize winners and both will receive the $100,000 tuition prize,” the statement continued.
White directed his questions to Dr. Pepper’s public relations team, and Georgian could not be reached.
In video presentations sent to Dr Pepper, students made their case for the opportunity to compete for the scholarship.
Judges selected contestants based on the videos submitted, using a rubric that assessed their goals and financial needs.
Georgian, business student, He said the tuition money would help him achieve his goal. to become a social entrepreneur, while paying for his sister’s tuition and treatment for her rare blood disease.
For his part, White, an aspiring meteorologist, used weather forecast graphics to paint a picture. somber prospect for your college debt: rising out-of-state tuition, pesky loans, and high interest rates.
“This grant could bring some sunshine to help alleviate some of this bad weather,” he said.
Fans online celebrated what they saw as a fair outcome, with some taking credit for putting pressure on Dr. Pepper.
“Joking aside, I think our tweets forced Dr. Pepper,” wrote a fan. “Thank you to everyone who contributed and spread the word.”
Jack Begg contributed to the research.