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Officiating error cost Pack vs. Pitt

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A timing error by the officiating crew and a brief malfunction of the instant replay review system combined to cost N.C. State valuable seconds at the end of the second quarter Saturday, Big East officiating coordinator Terry McAulay said Monday.

McAulay said the Big East crew improperly started the clock after a dead-ball false start penalty against N.C. State’s Julian Williams while the ball was at the Pittsburgh 2-yard line. The previous play had been an incomplete pass, so the clock should have remained stopped.

"Unfortunately the referee and the crew made a misstep," McAulay said.

The mistake caused N.C. State to call timeout and then kick a field goal on third down. The Wolfpack, which won 38-31 despite the error, should have had time to go for the end zone on third down before kicking a field goal on fourth down, if necessary.

McAulay said that by rule "egregious" timing errors such as that can be corrected in an instant replay review. But the replay system at Carter-Finley Stadium was malfunctioning and officials were switching to a backup system when the problem occurred.

ACC officiating coordinator Doug Rhoads said the replay glitches occurred shortly before the play in question and were fixed by the second half.

N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said Rhoads told him Saturday night that a mistake was made.

"But what good does it do me now?" O’Brien said.

McAulay said the play would count against the officials’ grade for the game and the season. On every play, officials receive grades that count toward an overall season score that helps determine whether they are assigned to postseason games.

Although the game was played at an ACC facility, it’s common for an officiating crew from the visiting team’s conference – in this case the Big East - to be assigned to a game.


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Doesn't do much good now

but at least they manned up and admitted it.

Can we say the same for the ACC refs who absolutely blew the timing in UNC's favor vs. GT at the end of the half and possibly cost them points? Did they man up?

And yes, Ron Cherry is one of the worst refs I've ever seen.


I completely agree with everything you just said.

easily explainable

the ACC has a clear bias for UNC.  they have bugs in all the ears of officials doing UNC games AS WELL AS ncsu football games.  we (the UNC bias) clearly had a failure in the ear pieces during the 2nd half at C-F and Bobby Dood.  that won't happen again. 

you guys never stop amazing me.  every football game I watch has at least one blunder from the refs.  these two ball games were no different.

Nice job Gatr

You've taken a shot at ACC refs personally.  Who said anything about a UNC bias?  Get over yourself.  Reading these comments, it's obvious that if anyone has black helicopters flying over them, it's you.

So with your logic, any time a UNC fan complains about Ron Cherry this year, it means that they are accusing him of being anti-Carolina?  C'mon, you're better than that...sometimes.

making a point.

just making a point that ncsu fans cry whether they win or lose.  the UNC bias was just icing on the cake. 

the fact of the matter is, like I said, bad calls happen in every game. 

"Bad calls" are one thing. 

"Bad calls" are one thing.  This was not a simple "bad call".

that was my point

what happened at the end of the first half to GT was not just a "bad call", rather, it was the refereeing equivalent of failing your masters thesis because you don't know how to spell your name.  


Taking the tree points

Why are you guys whinning about this error? Afterall, you did win the game. Perhaps taking the three points was a good thing. Ever thought about a pick-six at that point? (sorry, I know you haven't, but it is statistically possible). That would have been a 10 point swing.

Who's whining?

Most of the comments are just questioning whether the rules for starting the clock were applied correctly. At the time of the controversy, the Pack was not doing well and having a shot at 6 vs. 3 points mattered.

It should be noted that TOB and his players who were interviewed took full responsibility for the mistakes they made. TOB did question the timing of the clock starting by going through the proper channels. Turns out he was right.

It is important that the officials get the job done right, although I think they take more heat than they may deserve at times. Anyone who has officiated a game in any sport at any level can appreciate how tough it is. Plus, some of the rules implemented by the NCAA are flat out unintelligible. 

Maybe they should have a lawyer on the sideline to interpret the rules in real-time. It would also give the fans someone esle to direct their ire at, since everyone hates lawyers. 

See below

tjfoose and YAR8pack.

Agree, it should always be called correctly and yes, I agree it can be difficult. Just stirring the pot a bit, you know.

Thanks Surfer, it's nice to

Thanks Surfer, it's nice to be thought of.

I think the ire that is being expressed is due to the type of error made and the dismissive reaction of the officials to TOB when he was justifiably protesting.

It wasn't a judgement call.  It didn't occur during the action of a play.  It wasn't a play that could have understandably been visually missed. 

It was an administrative error in the application of applying a simple timing rule.  It was a careless error.  A mistake due to someone not paying attention.  Inexcusable. 

Even the casual fan knows in that situation, the clock does not start after an incompletion until the snap of the next play.  Anyone paying attention realized the error. At least 8 officials were not paying attention.  They forgot the situation.  Inexcusable.

The ESPN announcers were not paying attention either (no surprise there), as they starting berating TOB and staff for their apparent mismanagement of the clock.  I think one of them even used the term "worst ever" when referring to the clock management.  Many others in various media were doing the same after the game.   

The unjust criticism needed set straight.  The best time to protest is when 'your team' wins, otherwise it is dismissed as 'blaming the officials' for a loss. 

Since Williams never moved, and there was no 'false start' to begin with, I'm thinking the officials just got caught up in trying to cover their rear after an official jumped the gun.  That is probably what distracted their attention, and led them to forget the situation and circumstance.  


NCSU won the game
You'll never see those officials again.
Who cares.
surprised it took 4 games to get to the annual wolfpack ref outrage.

How dare Pack fans comment

How dare Pack fans comment on a thread with this title!  Grow up and acknowledge reality.  If the Big East is recognizing the blunder, then something wrong definitely took place.  Stop trying to make Pack fans out to look like paranoid whiners.  Who's your team?  I'm sure they've never had a problem with officiating...

odd penalty

ive NEVER seen that one they called, (ive played football and didn't even know it was illegal,) but the Pitt player was simulating the snap count and drew McCuller offsides. He promptly got a false start penalty anyway i think 2 plays after that.

Thanks Ken, Any apology for

Thanks Ken,

Any apology for calling the false start to begin with?

I DVR'd the game, and reviewed the play in question, numerous times. The initial penalty never occurred. A false start was called on #73, Julian Williams. There was no such penalty. Williams did not move prior to the snap. Nor did any other member of the line. It wasn't even close.

And how about several of the '5 men in the backfield' penalties?

I think those officials were just randomly blowing their whistles and having to come up w/ something after the fact...

At least 4 or 5 of those 'penalties' never occured. 

Pre-snap penalties are easy to confirm.  The DVR is not the officials friend.


I am glad the Pack won and the game was not on the line. Ron Cherry is awful! He killed the Pirates in Chapel Hill with that roughing the passer call against CJ Wilson. Kudos to the Pack. They look like the best team in the state.

Oh really

"McAulay said that by rule "egregious" timing errors such as that can be corrected in an instant replay review. But the replay system at Carter-Finley Stadium was malfunctioning and officials were switching to a backup system when the problem occurred." Riiiiiiiight.

Glad this instance didn't come back to haunt the Pack. However, NC State did enough to hurt their self in the 1st half. 9 penalties. Terrible tackling.

Hope TOB and Co. coach'em up this week to get those mistakes out of the game. Gonna be a tough team on Saturday.

Go Pack.

points deducted...

They ought to start posting officials grades every week.

Ron Cherry -568998920093842342342343098098

Also, what's the big deal if you don't get to do a postseason game? Doesn't sound like much incentive to be better unless you get fined/docked pay or whatever.

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About the blogger

Ken Tysiac has covered the ACC for The Charlotte Observer since 2003, and spent the previous eight years covering Clemson for the Anderson Independent-Mail and then The State in South Carolina. He grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.