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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.

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