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.

The league admitted to an officiating error in the final play of that matchup on Sunday night, saying that Michigan State should have been provided one additional untimed down.

Michigan State kicker Matt Coghlin drilled a 42-yard field goal initially with just 11 seconds left in the game, though the Spartans were called for having 12 men on the field and hit with a five-yard penalty. His second kick went wide left of the uprights, though an Arizona State player jumped over the Michigan State line in an attempt to block that kick.

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.

That penalty was not called on the field, however, and can’t be reviewed. So, Arizona State was given the 10-7 win in East Lansing.

The PAC-12’s 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. 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 Coglin missed a pair of field goal attempts earlier in the night.

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

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

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