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Kiffin, McDonald hit with punishments following loss to Stanford

Lane Kiffin

A really, really tough loss for USC at the hands of Stanford in a triple overtime thriller isn’t going to be something the Trojans are going to be able to forget right away — at least for two members of the program.

Following the game, USC coach Lane Kiffin expressed his disappointment in the Pac-12 officiating crew for not granting his team a timeout with one second remaining on the clock. The infamous play involved a screen pass to receiver Robert Woods, who opted to run the length of the field east to west instead of getting down so the Trojans could call a timeout and attempt a field goal. Woods’ knee hit the ground with one second left and the game ended.

“I’m really disappointed in the officials,” Kiffin said. “Extremely disappointed. They said [Woods] was out of bounds which he wasn’t. I had asked for a timeout with one second left before the play. We could have kicked a 50-yard field goal to win the game.  I’m not complaining. I’m just giving you the exact facts.”

Well, exact facts or not, the Pac-12 didn’t appreciate Kiffin’s comments too much. The Pac-12 has fined Kiffin a cool $10,000 for his comments. Kiffin was also reprimanded.

“The Pac-12 has specific rules that prohibit our coaches from making public comments about officiating’,” said commissioner Larry Scott.

Kiffin, understandably, was less affable.

“After numerous conversations with the conference office, we have agreed to disagree.”

Additionally, Trojans safety T.J. McDonald has been suspended for the first half of USC’s next game against Colorado for a personal foul hit on Cardinal receiver Chris Owusu. McDonald hit Owusu high as he was attempting to catch a ball over the middle of the field. Officials have been trying to crack down on hits to the helmet, or to what they feel are defenseless players.

“I accept my penalty and I apologize to my teammates, to our Trojan fans and to the Stanford team,” McDonald said in a statement.

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31 Responses to “Kiffin, McDonald hit with punishments following loss to Stanford”
  1. rockiemtnhigh says: Oct 31, 2011 11:29 PM

    Complete opposites. Kiffin the biggest crybaby around and McDonald takes it like a man.

  2. thekatman says: Oct 31, 2011 11:39 PM

    We are behind you Coach Kiffin. The refs were incorrect in their assessment of the two plays. You did what you had to do. Larry Scott is just protecting his investment in Stanford’s ability to win the Pac-12 and play for the BcS CG, along with the Heismsn oppty for Luck. SC will continue to be Larry Scott’s disadvantaged step children until next year. He is a fool and doesn’t understand that all things Pac-10/12 pass through USC.

    Fight On Coach, TO and team.
    Beat the Bufs, big time.

  3. aequitas83 says: Nov 1, 2011 12:05 AM

    Let me preface this with saying I am not affiliated with either university, but I am by no means a fan of Kiffin and was a neutral pulling for Stanford.

    That said, the officials got that completely wrong. They were wrong on the field, and they were wrong in the replay booth. Under no circumstances should the official ever determine that “the clock should have run out.” The play was over the instant the ball carrier’s knee hit the ground. By not ending the play at that point, the official should have restarted the clock on the ready to play whistle or granted the time out to Kiffin. That’s not opinion, that’s rule.

    Again, I’m happy that Stanford won. But that was an absolute joke by the official. They are only making it worse by trying to brush it under the rug.

  4. dg0122 says: Nov 1, 2011 12:10 AM

    it takes time to get a timeout called. there is no standing timeout call for the instant a play is over, no matter if you told the ref beforehand you wanted one. if woods got down earlier its a non-issue. but kiffin is making himself look stupid, to say nothing of those of you defending him

  5. ms72lbc says: Nov 1, 2011 12:15 AM

    Time to get rid of Larry Scott! He had his chance to create a “super conference” and blew it. He’s treating football like it is tennis (which is all he knows). USC plays football Larry. And they play hard and clean!

  6. sweepthleg says: Nov 1, 2011 2:44 AM

    Kiffin’s a joke! I’m glad he’s out of the SEC and will run USC back into the ground. Probably, with more NCAA violations to go with it.

    The guys knee hit the ground IN BOUNDS and then it took a second for the officials to whistle the play dead. Normal flow of the game. If the player had been better coached he would’ve got down in the middle of the field and Kiffin would’ve had plenty of time to call a time out and kick his LONG field goal.

    So instead of whining like a female dog. Maybe you should coach your players to be more thoughtful of what they are doing on the field. Especially, when the play is designed for them and they should be reminded to catch the ball, run, and then get down to call a time out so a field goal can be attempted.

  7. norcalirish says: Nov 1, 2011 7:29 AM


  8. chmba says: Nov 1, 2011 8:28 AM

    I can’t stand Kiffin or USC but they did get screwed by the zebras in this one. What I can’t stand more is these mealy mouthed commissioners standing behind incompetence in officiating. They don’t want them criticized but they won’t publicize penalties on officials (if there are actually any or any kind of accountability at all). PAC-12 is certainly not worst conference for officials (watch weekly ineptness in Big-12 if you want to see real incompetence), but all could use some improvement for sure.

  9. kdbroom says: Nov 1, 2011 8:37 AM

    Kiffin is wrong. Let’s look at the facts. The only argument is whether or not a second remained when the play ended (because you can’t pre-call a timeout). When we was ruled out of bounds, the clock had expired. Maybe the refs made a mistake by not stopping the clock with a second left. But they didn’t. If he had been ruled out of bounds on the review, then they would have had reason to add the second back. However, since he had been ruled inbounds, adding a second back onto the clock was immaterial because he didn’t make the first down (thus forcing a stoppage to mark the ball). So, what was the referee to do? Call the player inbounds, add a second back onto the clock and stop the clock for an inbounds, non-first down play? They wouldn’t do that on a run up the middle, so why do that for a pass that doesn’t make the first down? The referee got this one right.

  10. dmacirish says: Nov 1, 2011 8:42 AM

    i am a bit confused by kiffin. based on the words above he is arguing that the runner did not go out of bounds. correct me if i am wrong but the clock would continue to run unless (a) the runner makes a first down (in NCAA rules) (b) the runner goes out of bounds or (c) there is a time out called. none of these occurred so where is the question. fault goes to 2 people, woods because of not going down and kiffin for not coaching. as the USC’s have mocked other coaches and their programs maybe they should have looked in the mirror. run game was good all night, run the ball in the middle of the field, call your time out, kick the field goal, win the game. simple – horrible play call and poor execution.

  11. aequitas83 says: Nov 1, 2011 10:03 AM

    @chmba – Look at what I wrote earlier. The official, by rule, should have put one second on the clock and told the clock operate to start the clock on the “ready to play” signal. At that point, Kiffin could have called a timeout.

    Would it have been easier if the officials got it right on the field? Sure, but they didn’t.

    The official should never, and I mean never, determine what “should have” happened. Under the officials reasoning, an official could determine who “should have” recovered a fumble when a player was ruled down or where a player “should have” scored a TD if he was incorrectly ruled to have stepped out of bounds while running the sidelines.

  12. Derty Ernie says: Nov 1, 2011 10:34 AM

    I can see why Al Davis fired the jerk. You can’t tell the ref that you want a time out to begin at a certain time for a play that hasn’t happened yet.
    Its like, hey if this guy falls down, you the ref automatically stop the clock for me or it may take me more than one sec to do it myself.
    Next we will just hand the ref a sheet of paper listing at what times we want them to call the timeout for us. Dipstick!

  13. Derty Ernie says: Nov 1, 2011 10:36 AM

    Everbody is making an assumption that the clock stops when someone goes out of bounds or knee touches. Unfortunately that’s wrong a mundo. The clock stops when the ref signals the play dead and thus may take one or more seconds for that to happen. Its the refs who stop the clock not the coaches or situations.

  14. dmacirish says: Nov 1, 2011 10:38 AM

    @aequitas83 – you are incorrect. if it was a first down then you would be correct but it was not a first down so if the runner was in bounds the clock would continue to run and not need to be reset. the call on the play was correct however the play call was incorrect.

  15. skids003 says: Nov 1, 2011 10:53 AM

    Kiffin is an “entitled” jerk. I can’t believe anyone would hire this baby to coach them. He’ll run USC into the ground, probably leaving them wih NCAA anctions. He couldn’t coach a Little League team.

  16. bamasleeper13 says: Nov 1, 2011 10:58 AM

    Kiffen is a major whiner. He can’t tell the ref ahead of time when he wants a time out. Tenn should be so grateful he ran like a little girl. He will screw up USC and move on to his next disaster. What a tool.

  17. kurtrundell says: Nov 1, 2011 11:14 AM

    Texas would’ve gotten that 1 second.

  18. stlsteelerfan says: Nov 1, 2011 12:23 PM

    Kiffin says “I’m not complaining….”
    Saying you’re very disappointed in the officials and publicly criticizing them looks a lot like complaining to me.

    I have an idea, how about your team score more points or keep the other team from scoring as many points so we’re not talking about what an official should have done with 1 second of time in a 60 minute game.

    I’m not giving advice or anything, I’m just stating what I think…….

  19. thekatman says: Nov 1, 2011 12:24 PM

    Kiffin doesn’t make up rules. He plays by them and knows them very well. He was working from precedent as to how the rules have been interprested and executed. The Refs screwed the pooch on this one and then lied about it. The Ref team, the entire night, blew calls for/against both teams, but mostly blew calls on Stanford fouls. Yes, Stanford was called for 10+ penalties while USC was called for 3, but USC has been working on discipline the entire season. Stanford has been working on making Andrew Luck look Heisman worthy.

  20. oldforester says: Nov 1, 2011 12:51 PM

    I initially thought that there should have been 1 second left on the clock as the players knee was down before time expired. But, if the play did not result in a 1st down, the clock would not stop since the player remained in the field of play. Since there could not be a preexisting request to call a time out, by the time Kiffin called “time out” the 1 second left would have been gone.
    So, I am not sure what the controversy is about unless someone has a shot of Kiffin thinking so quickly that he is in position for the referee to see him, he calls time out at the instant the play ends, and having someone watching his actions and the clock at the same time . Maybe at USC they learn how to do that, but for the rest of us it seems as if the refs got it right.

  21. worldsgreatestben says: Nov 1, 2011 1:22 PM


    There are some idiots in this thread

    Get rid of Larry Scott????
    Guy is making moves! Almost unquestionably the best conference president there is. Gtfo of here with that nonsense.
    And he has improved the officiating.
    With that said

    There is no rule saying teams get an auto time out. Especially with .005 seconds remaining.
    Kiffin is a whiny bitch and will soon be hated out west like he is in sec country.

  22. mogogo1 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:55 PM

    The only reason there’s a debate on the officials actions is because USC completely mismanaged the clock. You can’t run a play in bounds like that without making it crystal clear to your players that they need to quickly get down on the ground so timeout can be called. Instead, Woods ran all the way across the field like he thought they were out of timeouts. Either a brain lapse on his part or the coaches screwed up and didn’t make sure he knew what to do. If they don’t bungle that, there’d have been no need to debate whether or not there was a second left.

    Kiffen likes to complain and it hurts him as a coach. This would have been a great lesson to his players regarding awareness on the field and how lapses cost you games. Instead, Kiffen basically has given them a free pass and blames it all on the officials. Woods will probably repeat this same sort of mistake in the future because he won’t see it as having been his problem.

  23. aequitas83 says: Nov 1, 2011 3:44 PM

    @dmacirish – It does not matter that there was not a first down. I hate to sound like I’m saying the same thing over and over, but I will try one more time:

    The replay official determined that the player’s knee was down, in bounds, with one second left on the clock. The play is over.

    (2) What SHOULD happen by rule: At that point, the only option the official has is to start the game from the point at which the previous play ended according to the replay official. Therefore, there should have been one second put on the clock, and the clock should start on the “ready to play” signal by the referee after the ball was placed on the hash nearest the Stanford sideline (near hash from the press booth).

    (3) What ACTUALLY happened: The official determined that the clock “would have” run out because the player was down in bounds. The official cannot, but the nature of the rule, determine what should or would have happened after a play has been determined to be over by the replay official. This is prima facie improper application – there cannot be indisputable evidence (the required standard for video review) of the existence of something that did not exist.

    For example, when the official rules fumble on the field and is later overturned by the replay official, they do not subtract time to represent about how much time it would have taken for the offense to get to the next play. They reset the clock to the time at which the player was ruled down by contact and start the clock on the ready to play signal.

    Whether or not there was a first down is entirely irrelevant to this situation. Moreover, what would have happened had the officials been correct on the field is also irrelevant (despite what would have been equitable).

    Poor decision by the WR to not go down? Yes. Bad call by the official on the field? Yes. Was Kiffin wrong to say comment publicly about it instead of going to the PAC-12 office? Yes. However, is Kiffin correct that he should have had a timeout because the official screwed up? Yes.

    In sum, was the result equitable? Probably – It is likely the clock would have run out. However, the officials should not be breaking the rules of the game in the process.

  24. drexelvol says: Nov 1, 2011 3:45 PM

    @aequitas83 – You clearly don’t understand the rules of college football.

  25. dmacirish says: Nov 1, 2011 4:05 PM

    thank you drexelvol because i was kind of thinking the same thing. first down, out of bounds, penalties, or t/o are the only way to stop the clock. the clock continues to run at the end of a play unless one of these things happened (nfl removes the first down option). you are right that the play was over but that does not necessarily equate to clock stopping. i hate to sound like i am saying the same thing aequitas83 but i have tried one more time and hopefully you understand now.

  26. floridacock says: Nov 1, 2011 4:23 PM

    God why am I wasting my time reading this???

  27. drexelvol says: Nov 1, 2011 4:39 PM

    @dmacirish – There are other reasons that the clock could stop, such as official times out for injuries, measurements, etc. None of which are relevant here though.

    I see his argument, but it’s not correct interpretation of the rules. The game was ruled over by the officials on the field. Replay backed that up and therefore the game is over. You don’t reset the clock back to when the play was over (runner’s knee was shown to be down) just because there was a replay. That would have resulted in USC getting an extra play in the game when the game had been ruled as over.

    If the game expiration had been overruled because the runner went out of bounds before the game clock expired, then you get your time. This is the case where his fumble example is true, but it’s not what happened.

    Following his example, if a runner fumbles the ball and it’s reviewed and NOT overturned, the recovering team does NOT get the ball with the game clock set to the time the runner fumbled, they get it at the time they recovered the fumble and the play was called dead by the officials.

  28. dmacirish says: Nov 1, 2011 4:48 PM

    why are we talking about fumbling? there are other reasons for clock stopping – streaking hot california blonde, goats on the field from delta phi kappa’s house, etc. but i assumed that officials t/o was included in the t/o option i suggested. if there is any argument here for time to be called then it would be the fact that the official nearest him came into the screen with his arms waving to stop the clock. but it is all a mute point, bad play call should have run the ball up the middle and attempted the field goal.

  29. drexelvol says: Nov 1, 2011 5:25 PM

    The fumbling example was just demonstrating what happens to the clock after a replay.

    That official did wave his arms to stop the clock, but the clock hit 0:00 before he started waving. Game over either way. Again, you don’t get extra time just because there was a replay.

  30. cjtogay says: Nov 1, 2011 10:58 PM

    What comes around goes, Lame Kiffin! Karma’s a bitch isn’t? Any day is a good day when you lose,”punk”!

  31. cjtogay says: Nov 1, 2011 11:00 PM

    What comes around goes around that is!

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