Pac-12: MSU should have gotten third try at game-ending field goal

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

As Mark Dantonio said, no one is going back and changing the score.

Even so, the Pac-12 acknowledged in a statement released Sunday night that the officiating crew from Saturday’s Michigan State-Arizona State game missed a call on the final play of the game, denying the Spartans another chance at tying a game they ultimately lost, 10-7.

MSU kicker Matt Coghlin misses his final field goal attempt Saturday against Arizona State that would have tied the game. Pac-12 conference officials say the officiating crew made a mistake on the play by not throwing a flag for a penalty by ASU that would have awarded Coghlin another attempt.

Michigan State reached the Arizona State 24-yard line and spiked the ball on first down, stopping the clock with 11 seconds to play. Matt Coghlin then kicked a 42-yard field goal to tie the game; however, Michigan State had 12 men on the field. The ball was moved back 5 yards and, with six seconds to play, Coghlin’s 47-yarder sailed wide left, ending the game.

But on that final attempt, an Arizona State defender leaped over the snapper, which should have resulted in a penalty and another kick for Michigan State.

“After the 5-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,” the conference’s statement said. “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.”

The statement went on to say the officiating crew would be “held accountable for the error through the conference’s game evaluation and disciplinary process.”

On Sunday night before the announcement was made, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said there was a process being followed to review the calls, but he knew it ultimately wouldn’t change the outcome.

 “They’re not gonna come back and change the score of the game,” Dantonio said. “But there’s a process to going through these things. I’ll let that process take its course.”

Twitter: @mattcharboneau