Clock Rule on RU Illegal Motion Play

Submitted by Muttley on October 4th, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Rutgers was penalized for illegal motion just a tad before the snap on 1st and 10 with 1:43 to go and Michigan having one time out.  Thus, had we been able to stop Rutgers (a hypothetical), we should have been able to get the ball back.  If no penalty is called, Rutgers then has 3 pre-snap opportunities (pre 2nd, 3rd, and 4th downs).  With the one time out, Michigan could stop the clock on one of these, leaving 2 assured drainages of 40 seconds each.

1:43 = 103 seconds, so without the penalty, Rutgers would have been guaranteed to run off only 2 x 40 = 80 seconds with the ball not in play, leaving 23 seconds of time for a Michigan possesion, less any time that was expended during 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th downs.

But after the penalty and before the 1st-and-15 snap, the clock restarted and about 25 seconds ran off before Rutgers snapped the ball again.  After we tackled Rutgers on the 1st-and-15 play and called timeout, there was 1:14 left, meaning that because of the penalty, there was less than 80 seconds left for Rutgers to run out with its the two remaining intervals (the interval between 2nd-and-3rd down and the interval between 3rd-and-4th down).

So basically, by incurring the penalty, Rutgers was able to go from a not-quite-kneel-down situation to a definite kneel-down-situation.

Did the clock operator/officials call this correctly?

Or is this a flaw that allows an offense to run out the clock by taking an illegal motion penalty to run off an extra 25 seconds?



October 4th, 2014 at 11:25 PM ^

I'm pretty sure in college football the clock restarts after a penalty, unless it is within final 2 minutes of the 2nd half or final minute of the first half.  Since this was in the final 2 minutes of the 2nd half the clock should not have restarted.  Michigan was definitely robbed of an extra 25 seconds.

This is another case where I was disappointed the coaches were not on top of things.  I was screeming at the TV when I saw this.  Can't believe that no one from the coaching staff noticed or talked to a referee (at least that I could see).



October 4th, 2014 at 11:27 PM ^

The B1G officials tonight could not have been worse.  I get that we shouldn't have been in the position.  That doesn't change the fact that 2 horrendous calls dramatically changed the outcome of the game.  


October 4th, 2014 at 11:36 PM ^

Agreed this is another case of our coaching staff either not being competent or not caring.  I noticed this right away and was stunned that no one fought to get the time put back on the clock.

Even when properly enforced the rule of restarting clock until 2 minutes is quite fatally flawed.  Hypothetically if a team is up 10+, has the ball deep in their own terrority early in the 4th quarter, it is dumb to run a play.  Instead run it up the middle, put the team on the sidelines, and wait until the clock stops with left than 2 minutes.  Eventually some team will do this and the rule will be changed.



October 4th, 2014 at 11:35 PM ^

This comes up once in a while.  if this is still correct, it is a terrible rule.

Just to pick an old scab, in the Colorado hail mary game, with about a minute remaining UM had this to their advantage, but didn't realize it, and snapped the ball with 20-25 seconds left on the play clock.  If they had let it run down, it would have been much like tonight's game.


October 4th, 2014 at 11:50 PM ^

3-2-4 (FR-76) There will be two play clock settings – 40 seconds and 25 seconds -- depending on game circumstances. Whenever the ball becomes dead, the play clock will be re-set to 40 seconds and will start immediately counting down. This includes when a runner is down in the field of play or out of bounds, fumble out of bounds, backward pass out of bounds, and after an incomplete pass. After a team has picked up a first down, the game clock will stop but the play clock will go to 40 seconds when the ball becomes dead and will start counting down. Once the down box is set, the officials are in place and the ball is on the ground in the correct spot, the referee will wind the game clock. If the play clock runs down to 20 seconds before the down box is set and the ball is on the ground, the referee will “pump” the play clock up to 25 seconds and start it on the ready for play.

If there is an administrative stoppage, the referee will stop the 40 second play clock and it will then be re-set to 25 seconds and started on the referee’s “ready for play” signal, just as in year’s past. Some examples of administrative stoppages that would require a 25-second reset are: Penalty administration; charged team time-out; media time-out; officials’ time-out; measurement; change of possession; try for extra point; start of each period; kick-offs; start of possession in extra periods; and instant replay reviews. The Rules Committee’s Rationale: This change was proposed at the 2006 rules meeting for implementation in the 2008 season. This play clock system, the committee believes, will create a more consistent pace of play and take some of the guesswork out of readying the ball for play. The greatest concern for officials with this new rule will be the availability of a competent play clock operator. Many officials have expressed concerns in the past that a play clock operator who “ was not alert” caused the game to break its flow when the game had to be stopped to re-start the ready for play. The play clock operator will have to focus and concentrate so that he starts the 40 second play clock immediately when the play is over. He must continue to focus on the Referee so that he is ready to re-set the play clock to 25 seconds after an administrative stoppage.

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October 4th, 2014 at 11:54 PM ^

"On the play following a false start there is discretion for the referee to wind the clock or allow the clock to start on the snap.. Equity is served by enforcing the false start and chopping the ball ready for play but not starting the clock until it is snapped. This prevents the offense from intentionally committing pre-snap fouls to eat up the game clock."

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October 4th, 2014 at 11:55 PM ^

We were screwed. He's right.

That WAS a catch. Yes, we shouldn't have been in that position, but the kids were driving at end of game to win it. They had it won, most likely. And that call cheated them of the win. Yes, we're not a good team by any stretch, but they were driving when it mattered & were winning the game with that drive. Already in good field goal position with that CATCH! And they were cheated. I feel horrible for them. After all they've gone through, they get crated like that, too?! Unconscionable!

Blue Ninja

October 5th, 2014 at 12:02 AM ^

This is one of slowest teams in D1 football. They would have used whatever time was left in one play and Gardner doesn't have the arm strength for a Hail Mary. When's the last time they did no huddle or a hurry up offense?