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Louisville (4-1, 2-1) needed a crucial fourth down in the red zone to keep its hopes of a win against Clemson (5-0, 2-0) alive. Receiver James Quick had a great shot to convert the first down, but seemed to step out a yard early and that gave Clemson the 42-36 win.

Quick was destroyed on Twitter after that for not fighting for the extra yard and for making a “business decision” in a huge game. However, his quarterback came to his defense.

While the viewers at home have the yellow line to tell us where the first down is, the guys on the field have to rely on the people on the sidelines with the first down markers. If you look here, it doesn’t look like the marker man is anywhere near the sideline to help out Quick.

That’s undoubtedly why Quick thought he actually had the first down even though he was a yard short. Here’s another angle to show that the first down marker was actually nowhere in sight and that made Quick give that reaction.

What’s worse is that it looks like the man working the marker was cheering after Quick failed to convert the pass into a first down.

Let the conspiracy theories fly because that was undoubtedly Clemson’s biggest obstacle in the ACC this year. If they can get by Florida State at the end of the month then the Tigers have pretty clear sailing to the ACC Championship Game.

[h/t SB Nation]

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