CBS analyst Gary Danielson was wrong at the most critical point of Saturday’s game between Auburn and Louisville, and we’re here to both scold the color commentator and set the record straight.
As we all watched the clock melt away on Auburn’s 31-24 win against the Cardinals on Saturday, many of us were baffled by head coach Bobby Petrino’s management of Louisville’s final timeout during an attempt to regain possession of the ball for a potential game-tying effort.
Danielson was quick to be critical of Petrino’s decision to use a timeout following a holding call on Auburn’s offense with 52 seconds remaining in the game.
Let’s review the tape:
Danielson believed that the clock would remain stopped due to the offensive penalty.
As it turns out, Danielson was wrong. And he probably owes Petrino a public apology for wrongfully roasting his decision on national TV.
In the aftermath of this bizarre ending to a telecast, the Louisville media did a very nice job of getting answers to all of our questions.
First, there is The Courier-Journal’s Steve Jones transcription of the post-game discussion with Petrino.
Here is what he found out about Petrino’s decision to use his final time out when he did:
Q. You got within seven that final possession as the clock ran down. What was going through your mind?
BOBBY PETRINO: Well, we were working to try to stop them on 3rd down and call timeout and force them to have to punt the ball, and then when they got the 1st down but had a holding penalty, we had no choice but to call the time out, and they ran the clock out. It’s unfortunate.
Q. Would the clock have started after —
BOBBY PETRINO: They would have started it right away.
Q. After the holding penalty?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, and I asked the official that on the sideline. I said, ‘Now because he’s tackled and it was a run play, the clock starts immediately?’ And he said, yeah.
And if that’s not enough, WDRB’s Eric Crawford took it a step further by contacting the SEC’s coordinator of officials for some clarification.
Just spoke with Steve Shaw, SEC coordinator of officials, he confirmed that clock restarts on officials signal after the holding penalty.
— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) September 6, 2015
Not only did Shaw say it was the right ruling on the field, but he also added some commentary in Crawford’s piece:
It’s a tough decision for coaches. But the call was right. The clock does restart on the official’s signal after a holding call. But it resets at 25 seconds. Coaches have to decide whether to take the timeout there, or try to get a stop then take the timeout (when the play clock goes to 40 seconds assuming a run on that play).”
Now, to be fair to Danielson, it still appears as though Petrino may have made the wrong decision. Had he let the 25 second play clock run instead, he likely gets Auburn to punt the ball with just under 20 seconds remaining.
By using the timeout in advance of the clock restarting, he missed out on that opportunity, as Auburn was able to run the clock out after a third down run and a fourth down heave downfield to run off the final few seconds.