Monday, October 21, 2019

Les Miles: Game clock didn’t start on time late in KU loss at Texas

Kansas head coach Les Miles watches his players against Texas during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Kansas head coach Les Miles watches his players against Texas during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)


Usually understated during his weekly press conferences, Kansas football coach Les Miles heard something Monday afternoon that stirred him to exuberance.

The subject material didn’t have anything to do with the Jayhawks’ performance this past weekend at Texas, either. Rather it was a matter of a procedural oversight on that Saturday night stage that appeared to go UT’s way.

A reporter asked Miles whether he or his staff noticed while watching footage after the fact that the game clock didn’t start on time on the Longhorns’ final offensive possession of a 50-48 Texas win, and whether KU might bring that to the attention of the Big 12.

“Absolutely,” Miles replied emphatically, before returning to his typically measured tone. “We’ll turn it in. We’ll see what they say.”

Miles, who of course coached at LSU and Oklahoma State before taking over at Kansas in November 2018, indicated it wasn’t the first time a clock proved helpful for a football team.

“There’s been other conferences that I’ve been involved with. It seems that the hometown clock guy can sometimes quickly move the clock along, sometimes inappropriately,” Miles said. “Or sometimes hold the clock and not get it started when the play starts. I think we’ll have a look at that, see what they say.”

On a win or lose possession, with KU up 48-47 with 1:11 to play, Texas opened the drive with two timeouts. The Longhorns appeared to benefit from a convenient pause on the series, too.

It looked like the game clock didn’t start on time after quarterback Sam Ehlinger scrambled and rushed for 8 yards and a first down, on the fifth snap of the decisive series.

KU senior outside linebacker Najee Stevens-McKenzie tackled Ehlinger near midfield, at UT’s 48-yard line. The clock showed 0:32 when it stopped, according to the rules, because UT picked up a first down and the chains and ball had to be in place before the clock began ticking again. However, the clock didn’t restart until the ball was snapped to Ehlinger, saving UT valuable seconds — at least two or three — with the game in the balance.

Stevens-McKenzie said Monday afternoon he didn’t notice the clock issue.

“I’m kind of locked into the game,” he said. “I’m not really aware of what’s really going on.”

The drama of the scene alone made the final 1:11 of the thriller seem longer to Stevens-McKenzie, though.

“I felt like every time I looked up only like four seconds had left off the clock,” Stevens-McKenzie said.

UT, of course, used both timeouts on the crucial series. The first came at the 0:43 mark, after an Ehlinger completion over the middle to Keaontay Ingram. UT coach Tom Herman used his final timeout with 0:08 to go, after KU cornerback Kyle Mayberry tackled Collin Johnson on an 11-yard catch for a first down.

The Longhorns were able to run one last offensive play after their final timeout at the 0:08 mark, a 6-yard Ehlinger completion that got them to the 15-yard line and set up Cameron Dicker’s 33-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.


Len Shaffer 3 years, 1 month ago

So let me get this straight: UT got a break in a Big XII game? I'm shocked -- shocked, I tell you.

David Robinett 3 years, 1 month ago

I heard UT had no AC in The visiting locker room for LSU, and also put the LSU band in the furthest corner of the stadium

Len Shaffer 3 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like a typical bully: it's not enough that they have more talent; they also have to cheat as much as they can get away with (hello New England Patriots)..

I'm not a big OU fan but I always root for them against UT.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 1 month ago

Might be lame, but I wouldn't call it cheating. Iowa famously had a pink visitors' locker room for years

Dane Pratt 3 years, 1 month ago

Would not have made a difference. Their kicker is good. His longest FG is 57 yards. To have a chance to win we needed to keep them from reaching the 33 yard line which UT did with 43 seconds left. After that, each play just made the kickers job easier. The game winning kick was basically a chip shot.

David Kelley-Wood 3 years, 1 month ago

It PROBABLY wouldn't have produced a different result, and it definitely won't now by pointing it out to the Big 12. But, it's obvious that Texas thought it was important enough to improve their chances by shortening the distance of the kick that they even ran that last pass play to cut it from 39 to 33 yards. If they had considered it a sure thing at 39 yards, they wouldn't have bothered.

Gary McCullough 3 years, 1 month ago

The blocked extra point that went for 2 the other way was the difference in the game. Until the kicking issue is straightened out, they should be going for 2 every time the way the offense showed up. As long as this wasn't another BC game and lapse into mediocracy.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

Dane is on the nose.

In some ways, after 43 seconds the more plays they ran was to KUs advantage. More opps for turnovers. It would have been poetic justice if they would have had a TO on the last play before the kick.

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 1 month ago

In the scheme of things perhaps we left too much time on the clock to begin with. But Carter had a wide open receiver so you gotta take it. Oh so close. For the most part I thought the officiating was balanced. Time keeping not so sure. We'll see I guess. Heard rules are different in last two minutes so don't know.

Bill Kackley 3 years, 1 month ago

The shame of it was that the KU defense didn't make sure the receiver didn't get out of bounds on the last pass play.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 1 month ago

So True. I am sure that defenses don't get to practice that strategy too often and it gets overlooked. But depending on game time, playing on the outside does one of two things...assuming a pass play play, either you keep the other team inbounds and run out the clock or the other team scores and maybe leaves enough time on the clock for you to comeback or the pass is incomplete and they get a 39 yd FG attempt. In this case, had the Longhorns got a touchdown it would have been unlikely that KU would have made a touchdown having only 8 seconds left in the game. But either way its a better shot at winning than the way it went, which was very familiar to just having a prevent defense. For which, I hate.

Jeff Kallmeyer 3 years, 1 month ago

There was more home-cooking than just the clock keeper, review the refs' ball placements when we had possession vs. the Tea Sips.

Steve Quatrocky 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe a good omen, I remember getting homered at Texas in Mangino's first year. Rarely does Texas find itself in that position, but when it does, Texas can always count on the 12th man at Home.

Gary McCullough 3 years, 1 month ago

I ran the clock for men's and women's basketball at a small NAIA turned NCAA-II for 15 years. One of the characteristics of my table was professionalism. I would never slow the clock or run it long after a whistle to favor my team. That was my primary job and I was determined to get it right. I know errors are possible, but it's been my experience that clock issues ALWAYS favor the home team, e.g., Michigan State vs. KU at the Sprint Center, 1986.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 1 month ago

So let's assume the Big 12 agrees with the KU assertion about the clock. What happens then? Let's assume it's a situation where a field goal would not have taken place. I know that's not the situation here, but I'm trying to understand the process. What would happen? The Big 12 wouldn't say the final score is now 48-47 in favor of Kansas, would it? So could anything come of this other than possible a fine and maybe a forced firing of the timekeeper?

Dale Rogers 3 years, 1 month ago

Another question: Apparently the time loss for the two instances of late clock starting totaled 22 seconds. So where was the game at the 22 second remaining mark? What yard line? Field goal range? I realize if the clock were accurate then maybe the final plays would have been different instead of working towards a FG but am curious about the situation at the 22 second mark. Anyone know?

Matt Gauntt 3 years, 1 month ago

Look at ESPN and the play by play listing.

They were on the KU 32 yard line with 22 seconds left.

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