Pac-12 admits officiating error at end of Michigan State’s 10-7 loss to Arizona State

Michigan State struggled throughout its 10-7 loss to No. 24 Arizona State on Saturday night, and missed a second-chance game-tying field goal as time expired.

On Sunday, though, the Pac-12 conference revealed that the Spartans should have had a third chance at that kick.

On Sunday night, the league admitted to an officiating error on the game’s final play, saying that Michigan State should have been provided one additional untimed down.

With ASU leading 10-7, Michigan State kicker Matt Coghlin drilled a 42-yard field goal with just 11 seconds left in the game, but the Spartans were called for having 12 men on the field and hit with a five-yard penalty, taking the tying three points off the board.

His second kick went wide left of the uprights, giving Arizona State the victory. However, because an Arizona State player jumped over the Michigan State line in an attempt to block that kick, the Pac-12 said Sunday that ASU should have been penalized for leaping.

From the Pac-12:

After the five-yard penalty was assessed that moved the ball to the 29-yard line, Michigan State again attempted a field goal with 0:06 remaining that was no good as time expired. However, there should have been a foul called for leaping. An Arizona State defensive player took a running start and leapt over the kicking team’s line in an attempt to block the kick. In the process, he leapt into the frame of the body of an opponent. The penalty would have been 15 yards from the previous spot and an automatic first down.

In this case, it would have been administered as half the distance to the goal and Michigan State would have been provided one untimed down.

But that penalty was not called on the field and couldn’t be reviewed. So, Arizona State was able to leave East Lansing with a 10-7 win.

Pac-12 trying to be more transparent with officiating

The Pac-12’s Sunday night statement is part of the league’s effort to be more transparent with its officiating this season, something it promised to do this summer after a Yahoo Sports report detailed an officiating incident in the USC-Washington State game last year. The Pac-12 introduced a “communications protocol,” in which it would offer an official comment “around significant calls or errors that either impact player safety or the result of the game.”

Now, the officiating error isn’t a good look for the Pac-12 by any means. But Michigan State’s performance on Saturday wasn’t much better. The Spartans trailed 3-0 at halftime and didn’t score until midway through the fourth quarter. The team had 10 total penalties for 91 yards, and Coghlin missed a pair of field goal attempts earlier in the night.

Still, the league made it clear that Coghlin deserved one final attempt at a field goal, which could have sent the game into overtime.

But after Michigan State’s offensive struggles, an extra period may not really have mattered.

The Pac-12 admitted an officiating error Sunday in Michigan State's loss to Arizona State, one that should have left them with another field goal attempt.
The Pac-12 admitted an officiating error Sunday in Michigan State's loss to Arizona State, one that should have left them with another field goal attempt. (Allan Dranberg/Getty Images)

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