After screenshots of the Spartan Stadium play clock registering :00 before Michigan State scored on its game-winning play against Notre Dame began circulating on the web postgame, the Big East released a statement on behalf of its conference officials who worked the game.
(Both the call and the officiating methodology is wrong on the play)
After review, the conference believes that the game officials correctly applied the proper mechanics and guidelines that are in place to determine, in a consistent manner, when a flag should be thrown for delay of game.
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. On the play in question, this lag time created the situation where it appears the play clock expired just before the snap. We believe the snap occurred well within the normal lag time for the back judge to make this determination. This play is not reviewable under current NCAA rules.”
“It appears the play clock expired just before the snap”?
It “appeared” the play clock expired before the snap because it did. The long snapper had not moved the football when the Spartan Stadium play clock reached :00. Watch for yourself: Read more…