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Pac-12 missed call for leaping in ASU win over Michigan State

The Pac-12 Conference acknowledged an officiating error on the last play of Arizona State’s 10-7 victory at Michigan State on Saturday.

The conference said late Sunday night that Sun Devils safety Cam Phillips should have been called for leaping over opponent linemen on Michigan State’s missed field goal attempt as time expired.

“An Arizona State defensive player took a running start and leapt over the kicking team’s line in an attempt to block the kick,” the Pac-12 said in a statement. “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.”

Michigan State had a tying field goal with 11 seconds remaining that was negated for having too many men on the field, setting up the second attempt that Matt Coghlin hooked well left.

On Monday, Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station‘s Doug & Wolf Show and was asked about a similar play in which a Michigan State player jumped ASU’s line of scrimmage on the extra point following the Sun Devils’ game-winning touchdown.

“We saw it happen and it wasn’t called,” Edwards said. “Ours was more at the end. Our guy crept into the box and he was moving. He walked up there, but you can’t walk up. You have to be set before you do it. Obviously, it was a foul and wasn’t called.

“I don’t know if he didn’t do that if [Coghlin] was going to make it anyway. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. But they didn’t call it — it’s a 15-yard penalty if they called it and he would’ve gotten another opportunity.”

Coghlin officially missed three field goal attempts on the day, two of 47 yards and one at 31 yards out.

After the game, FOX Sports rules analyst Dean Blandino was brought on the postgame studio set to discuss the missed call.

“You have to be stationary on the line to jump over that plane over your opponent,” he said. “That’s a 15-yard penalty and they get another shot if that flag is thrown. … It’s not a reviewable play. That’s one they just missed on the field.”

Here’s how the official rulebook (Rule 9-1-11) reads:

a. No defensive player, in an attempt to gain an advantage, may step, jump or stand on an opponent.
b. It is a foul if a defensive player moves forward and tries to block a kick or apparent kick on a field goal or try by leaving his feet and leaping into the plane directly above the frame of the body of an opponent. It is not a foul if the player was aligned in a stationary position within one yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.

The Pac-12 added that the officials will be “held accountable for the error through the conference’s game evaluation and disciplinary process.”

“We don’t talk about them,” Edwards said. It’s just ball. We just play ball. That’s it. We don’t get into officiating. We don’t try to do that. They have a hard job those guys.

“I said, ‘Nobody talks to the officials.’ I’ll say something. I counted the 12 on the field. I knew that was taking place and asked them, ‘You need to take a look at this. I think there are 12 guys on the field.’ … They looked in the booth obviously and were looking at it and we were fortunate — 12 guys on and they had to re-kick.”

Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio ultimately took the blame after the game for mismanaging the play where 12 players were on the field. He also admitted the officiating could have been better on the non-leaping call and in the referees’ clock management on Michigan State’s last possession.

“There’s no game that you go through that is perfect from a standpoint of playing or officiating that situation,” Dantonio said Sunday night, according to the Detroit Free Press. “When games are close like this, things can fall one way or the other based on a lot of things – some coaching, some playing, some officiating, whatever it is. But I’m gonna try to do the best, the best I can.

“If anything, I let maybe everything take me out of or allowed it to frustrate me to the point where maybe I’m not seeing as clearly. And that can’t happen.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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