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Pac-12 Admits Officials Missed Critical Penalty On Last Play In Arizona State's Upset Of Michigan State

Photo: Joe Robbins (Getty)

Things got weird at the end of Arizona State’s ugly 10-7 victory over No. 18 Michigan State in East Lansing last Saturday. The Spartans were in ASU territory and with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter, MSU kicker Matt Coghlin appeared to connect from 42 yards and redeem two earlier misses by sending the game to overtime.

That was until officials noticed that MSU had 12 players on the field, which backed up the Spartans to redo the kick from 47 yards. Coghlin missed his second attempt by a mile, and the game ended.

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However, the officials overlooked an even more consequential penalty on that second attempt, one that should have given Coghlin yet one more chance from a shorter distance. The conference announced this morning that ASU safety Cam Phillips should have been called for a leaping penalty for leaping over the MSU offensive line and “into the frame of the body of an opponent.” The conference released a video explaining what happened during that final play, as well as what should have happened.

“The game officials will be held accountable for the error through the Conference’s game evaluation and disciplinary process,” the Pac-12 said, which surely will be no consolation for Michigan State. Spartans fans won’t be too surprised that the notoriously incompetent Pac-12 officials managed to screw them, though they can’t be too indignant, since MSU only reached field goal range in the first place thanks to an ultra-soft pass interference penalty.

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