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Brian Kelly on negated TD: “Florida State blew the coverage and they got rewarded for it”

| Sunday, October 19, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Barely 14 hours after Brian Kelly and his players took the bulk of the blame for Notre Dame’s heartbreaking 31-27 loss to No. 2 Florida State on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium, Kelly added a different tone Sunday.

The common refrain from the Irish in the wee hours late Saturday night and into Sunday morning was that they needed to make one more play. Kelly reiterated that sentiment on Sunday but also criticized the referees — from the ACC — that adjudicated Saturday’s top-five matchup. Notre Dame was whistled for an offensive pass-interference penalty in the games final seconds, negating what would have been the go-ahead touchdown — a two-yard pass from Irish senior quarterback Everett Golson to sophomore receiver Corey Robinson.

“I have less clarity,” Kelly said Sunday. “I guess it was actually called on [sophomore receiver] Will Fuller, not [junior receiver] 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.”

Kelly said he didn’t think Fuller went out of his way to “impede the defender.”

“The official that was furthest from the play that had the ability to see it saw it differently,” Kelly said.

The official box score listed the penalty against Prosise. Kelly said it was his understanding the call on the field went against Fuller, though there hasn’t been any clarity since the end of the game.

“We’ll have our conversations with the supervisor of officials for the ACC here a little bit later this afternoon,” Kelly said. “I’m sure we’ll get even less clarification.”

Replays also show Florida State junior defensive back P.J. Williams remove his helmet after the play while still on the field. By rule, a player who intentionally removes his helmet during the down commits a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.

A screenshot of FSU DB P.J. Williams removing his helmet.ESPN on ABC Broadcast

A screenshot of FSU DB P.J. Williams removing his helmet.

“They said they missed a call,” Kelly said of the non-call. “They said they just missed it.”

A live-ball penalty (such as pass interference) followed by a dead-ball penalty (removing a helmet) results in penalties administered separately and in the order of occurrence.

Penalties and no-calls aside, Kelly did say the Irish just didn’t finish the job.

“You gotta take the belt from the champion,” Kelly said. “You can’t leave it up to a decision that’s made at the end.”

“When you get a team like this, you outplay them, you got to put them away,” he added later. “You got to make sure that you put them away, and we didn’t do that.”

Despite his noted frustrations, Kelly circled back to his attitude Saturday night.

“If you got the champ, you can’t win by split decision, you got to knock them out,” Kelly said. “I think that’s what we want to take away from this.”

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About Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer Mike Monaco is a senior majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with a minor in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy as well as Business Economics. The O’Neill Hall native hails from the Boston area and is an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

Contact Mike
  • CF

    ND players initiated contact and held their blocks so that the defenders could not get to the intended receiver. This was an easy flag to throw; not a lot to think about.

    • Tyler

      Actually the defenders initiated contact and held contact all the way into the endzone..don’t know what game you were watching. The guy covering Robinson wasn’t even touched and was nowhere near him.

      • CF

        Go watch it again from the moment the two ND players headed towards the FSU defenders. That was the first move and that move continued to the point of initiating contact.

        • Chris

          What about the missed dead ball penalty CF. What do you say about that?

          • CF

            I didn’t watch the game. I watched the replay of the call, at the end of the game, that seemed to have some fans socks in a wad. I am a former referee/ umpire, so I watched it from that perspective; not as a fan

  • JohnBoy


    Every Notre Dame fan needs to watch this video of the call (and possibly find other angles at field level).

    Make sure to watch on Youtube at .25 (1/4) speed, 720 HD res. You may need to watch and freeze frame a few times (around :18, :19, :20 second mark) to find what is described below but it is there.

    Here’s a direct link to the Youtube video: http://youtu.be/vlX8EhpzwO4

    It was a blown call from the same ref who threw the flag at Fuller #7 for PI. The ref who throws the flag is looking in the direction of PJ Williams as he is removing his helmet, a second after Robinson scores. Here’s a direct link to the screen shot showing the reverse angle: http://bit.ly/1t18B4S

    Earlier in the day, that same penalty was called: http://bit.ly/1urn1rD

    “They said they just missed it.” – Brian Kelly

    If a penalty is called for PJ Williams taking his helmet off, it’s 1st-and-Goal from the 9 with 13 seconds left.

    P.S. From the video, you will notice Robinson’s touchdown is confirmed by two refs who have a clearer line of sight of Prosise and Fuller than the ref who threw the flag. Also from the screen capture, you can see a line of photographers – hundreds (if not several thousands) of photos flashed per second – with closeups (I am sure) of that ref and his eye line. The ref’s final position (as seen in the video) is in the direction of the touchdown where PJ Williams is standing and removing his helmet as the flag is landing near him in the end zone. How could this ref (or the two others on that side of the endzone) miss that call?

  • IJustWantTruth

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAKIi6gONFA There is a smoking gun here, folks. The contact that occurred is subject to dispute/debate. The main problem is the ref pulled the flag before the ball had even crossed the neutral zone. That won’t change the outcome but it will forever disfigure the win.

  • Jason Allen Milliman

    what I saw was two receivers trying to run pass patterns to the middle of the end zone in order to allow robinson to get open. They were not able to get there because the floridate state defenders immediately grabbed them to prevent them from getting to their desired area (also known as “pressing”) If the ball was thrown to one of THOSE two receivers (according to the rule as written) THEN it would be pass interference on either the defender for not allowing the receiver to run the route, or the receiver for trying to “run through” the defender. The receiver has just as much right to space as a defender folks… NOW, when the pass is thrown (to a receiver who has NO ONE covering him, the contact between the other two receivers and their defenders is a moot point because neither of those defenders is anywhere NEAR the ball, and could not have made a play to defend, and the 3rd defender (who is out of position and cannot cover by their own flawed lineup) is too far away to make a play either. So, the result is YES, there was contact. NO it was NOT in any way able to affect the outcome of the play. BUT, if you want to say it was legit, then let’s give you the benefit of the doubt. Why did the closest refs to the play feel it was NOT PI, and the guy FARTHEST from the play think it was? ALSO, how did that very SAME ref miss one of the defenders immediately take off his helmet(15yd unsportsmanlike conduct call, resulting in 1st and goal for ND from the 9yd line)? Why? Because Paul Williams is known for making these types of slanted, controversial, game-changing calls against Notre Dame. Check the history of this oxygen-thief! Call it whining if you want to, but the facts speak for themselves. Bottom line? Notre Dame was robbed for sure. That ref should be fired for incompetence. I can’t WAIT ’til someone posts a pic of him in the middle of throwing the flag, while his eyes are looking DIRECTLY AT the defender removing his helmet! How can the ACC defend THAT??