Did the play clock expire on Michigan State’s game-winning fake field goal against Notre Dame? Should a delay-of-game penalty have been called on the Spartans? Irish fans certainly think so, and the visual evidence appears to support that argument.
The officiating crew working the game was from the Big East. And after reviewing the final play, the conference released a statement saying that the correct call was made and a penalty was not in order.
Big East officiating coordinator Terry McAuley explained the mechanics and guidelines that go into determining whether or not a penalty should be called on such a play.
From the Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton:
“The responsibility is assigned to the Back Judge, who in this situation was standing beneath the upright. Proper mechanics dictate that his focus be directed to the play clock as it approaches zero. When the play clock display reads zero, he must re-direct his attention to the ball. At that time, if the snap has not started, a flag will be thrown for delay of game. If the snap has begun, no flag will be thrown.
“Under these procedures, there will always be a small amount of lag time between the time the clock reads zero and the time the Back Judge is able to see the football.”
McAuley added that the play is not reviewable under current NCAA rules.