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A day after a fourth-down offensive pass-interference penalty took away what would have been a game-winning touchdown to Corey Robinson for Notre Dame against Florida State, Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly was still fuming about the call.
Kelly said after the game that he did not agree with the interference call and got no explanation from the officials, and Sunday he completely ripped the ACC officiating crew.
“Actually, I have less clarity,” Kelly said Sunday per IrishIllustrated.com. “I guess it was actually called on Will Fuller, not C.J. (Prosise). Just adds more uncertainty as to the final play. Again, the play itself in terms of what we ask our kids to do, it was pretty clear what happened on the play. Florida State blew the coverage and they got rewarded for it. So it’s unfortunate.”
The replay showed that that both Prosise and Fuller made contact with FSU defenders, but Kelly insisted that neither obstructed the FSU players.
“I think (Fuller) is working back inside,” Kelly said. “He did not go out of his way to impede the defender. (Prosise) was immediately grabbed at the line of scrimmage. He’s trying to get depth into the line of scrimmage, into the end zone, so Corey [Robinson] can clear a path.
“As that contact was being made, it was seen – I guess, I don’t know who saw it as interference – but you’ve got two guys that are trying to fight for space. He’s supposed to find space, sit down and be a target. The ball was thrown quickly. C.J. didn’t even have a chance to turn around.”
On a segment for ACC Now, Doug Rhoads, the ACC head of officials, didn’t explicitly say whether or not he agreed with the call, but he did offer a thorough explanation for the offensive pass interference rule.
Offensive players, on passing plays, are restricted from going downfield and blocking anytime from the snap. If the ball is first touched behind the line of scrimmage, then that would be legal, and it's OK, but if the ball is touched beyond the line, then it's offensive pass interference.
Rhoads made sure to point out that it’s a judgment call for the official.
Officials always have to exercise great judgment in calling a foul, and offensive pass interference, or pick plays, as they're sometimes referred to, are no different than other difficult judgments. The key element is that the official must assess on the play if there is sufficient restriction for it to be a foul, and he has to differentiate between incidental contact and significant contact, or significant restriction, before he calls that foul.
After the penalty was called, Notre Dame still had a chance to win on a fourth-and-goal from the 18-yard line, but Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson felt pressure and his pass was intercepted by an FSU defender out of bounds, sealing a Florida State 31-27 win.
For more Notre Dame news, visit IrishIllustrated.com.
For more Florida State news, visit Warchant.com.
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