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Dr Pepper Offers $200,000 in Scholarships to Make Up for Halftime Mistake

The Big 12 Championship game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday evening delivered the kind of controversial and exciting matchup that draws in college football fans every weekend.

The true competition, however, was not between the football teams (Texas won a one-sided 49-21 affair), but between two college students participating in the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway challenge at halftime, a college football tradition.

Each student had to throw as many footballs as possible into their respective Dr Pepper-branded bin, five yards away, within a set period of time.

Ryan Georgian, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, and Gavin White, a junior at Ohio State University, ended regulation tied at 10 points each, leading to overtime.

They each had an additional 15-second overtime period to break the tie for the win.

At the whistle, they threw their footballs at the bin, with each miss bouncing off the target, like corn popping in a kettle.

Georgian managed to tie the score at 16 at the last second, forcing a sudden-death shootout in a second overtime period.

Georgian ultimately emerged as the winner, but fans quickly noticed an issue.

The game should not have gone to double overtime, as fans pointed out and Dr Pepper later acknowledged.

A video review revealed that Georgian had only scored five points in the first overtime period but was credited with six, enough to force the tie.

Online, college football fans expressed their dissatisfaction. They cried foul and demanded that the soft drink giant “serve Justice for Gavin.”

Not long after, Dr Pepper stated that it would address the situation.

“In a dramatic double OT Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway during the Big 12 Conference championship game, an on-field technical error resulted in an inaccurate accounting of the double tie break,” the company said in a statement, which did not elaborate on the specifics of the mistake.

“As such, Dr Pepper will recognize both finalists as grand prize winners, with both receiving the 100k award in tuition,” the statement continued.

White referred any inquiries to Dr Pepper’s public relations team, and Georgian could not be reached.

In the video submissions to Dr Pepper, the students outlined their reasons for wanting to compete for the scholarship.

The judges selected the contestants based on their video submissions and assessed their goals and financial need using a rubric.

Georgian, a business major, stated that the tuition money would help him achieve his goal of becoming a social entrepreneur, while also paying for his sister’s tuition and treatment for her rare blood disease.

For his part, White, an aspiring meteorologist, utilized weather forecast graphics to paint a bleak outlook for his college debt: increasing out-of-state tuition, burdensome loans, and high interest rates.

“This scholarship could bring in some sunshine to help push out some of this bad weather,” he remarked.

Online, fans celebrated what they perceived as a fair outcome, with some attributing the decision to the pressure exerted on Dr Pepper.

“Jokes aside, I think our tweets forced Dr Pepper’s hand,” wrote one fan. “Thanks to all who contributed and got the word out.”

Jack Begg contributed research.

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