CRAWFORD | On Petrino's final timeout in Louisville's loss to Au - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | On Petrino's final timeout in Louisville's loss to Auburn

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AP photo. AP photo.

ATLANTA (WDRB) — I don’t know why it is, but you can play a 60-minute football game, and whatever happens in the final minute is what we all obsess over.

Such is the case with the University of Louisville’s handling of the final minute in its 31-24 loss to No. 6 Auburn on Saturday.

On third and 2 on the final minute, Auburn ran for a first down but was whistled for holding. The clock stopped while officials marked off the yardage, with 52 seconds left.

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino asked the refs if the clock would restart after the markoff, and they said, correctly, that it would. Petrino then called timeout.

Immediately, questions flew from the Twittersphere, including myself, and especially from the CBS commentators.

Auburn ran its third down play, then was able to run the clock out on a deep pass on fourth down.

Had Petrino erred?

Asked about it after the game, he said, “When they got the first down but had a holding penalty, we had no choice but to call the timeout, and they ran the clock out. It’s unfortunate.”

Unfortunate, and unnecessary — but not quite as egregious as the TV commentators made it out to be.

Had Petrino not called timeout, officials would’ve restarted the clock and Auburn would’ve had 25 seconds to snap the ball. That would’ve meant a snap at 28 seconds, and a play that culminated around 20 seconds, with a U of L timeout.

That deadball would’ve forced an Auburn punt, assuming the Tigers didn’t get a first down, giving the Cardinals the ball probably deep in their own territory with around 15 seconds left. Maybe.

I asked Southeastern Conference director of officiating Steve Shaw about the ruling, and he explained, “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).”

The more costly play came a couple of plays before the holding call, when Devonte Fields jumped offsides on second and 9, giving Auburn second and short yardage.

Even worse was this one — after a first-and-goal incompletion from Lamar Jackson to Devante Peete, on the Cardinals’ previous drive, the Cardinals had to take a timeout — while the clock was already stopped — to set up their next play with 3:18 left.

But that mistake didn’t happen in the final minute, so we won’t talk about it as much.

This wasn’t as tough as the spike at Clemson. And the odds against a last-second play were very long.

Still, Cardinal fans would like to have seen their team have that change. And with a little different timeout management at the end, they might’ve gotten it, though there are no guarantees. 

Still, that’s why Petrino gets the big money.

For whatever that’s worth. 

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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