Less than 12 hours after the ACC admitted that one of its replay officials made an error at the end of Friday’s Wake Forest-North Carolina game, which was technically a non-conference matchup, the spotlight quickly refocused on the conference and its late-game clock operating/officiating.
No. 25 Virginia beat Florida State 31-24, dropping the Seminoles to 1-2 on the season, and the Cavaliers were able to seal the victory by tackling Florida State’s Cam Akers short of the end zone on the last play.
The only problem?
The Seminoles, who were clearly out of sync as they rushed to snap the ball on the game’s final play, should’ve had roughly three more seconds on the clock. The clock should’ve shown seven seconds to play before their final snap, rather than four, after they picked up a first down.
Take a look at the video below, courtesy of The Banner Society’s Alex Kirshner:
In college football, clock stops on the first down and doesn’t start until it’s ready for play.
Watch the clock not stop until three full seconds after FSU’s first down, leading FSU not to clock it and instead run a nothing play to lose the game.
Real bad pic.twitter.com/0KkZb3fknq
— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) September 15, 2019
That additional could’ve been enough for the Seminoles to potentially spike the ball, stopping the clock, or at least get lined up properly.
Sure, some of the blame falls on Florida State for its own late-game disorganization – why was its final play a direct snap to a running back? – and at least two linemen appeared to be unsure of their blocking responsibilities on the last play.
But it doesn’t help that the precious time left on the clock was almost cut in half for their potential game-tying play.
We’ll have to wait and see how the ACC responds to its second late-game clock operating/officiating gaffe in as many days.
In Friday’s game between Wake Forest and North Carolina, the Demon Deacons won after the officials ruled that time expired after North Carolina’s Michael Carter ran 13 yards for a first down.
On Saturday, the ACC released a statement announcing that the replay official should’ve reviewed the play to see if Carter got out of bounds – around the Wake Forest 42-yard line – and if the official had done so, one second should’ve been put back on the clock, which would’ve given the Tar Heels a chance for a final Hail Mary, trailing 24-18.
Similarly to Friday’s game, the clock operating mistake in Charlottesville could’ve allowed the team that was trailing to tie the game or win it (depending on the PAT/two-point conversion).
Virginia wasn’t gifted a win but Florida State, even with its own self-inflicted wounds, wasn’t done any favors by the game clock operator.
Now the question is how many words will be different in the ACC’s next statement compared to its previous one.