Pereira: Blame TV clock for ire over ASU touchdown

Time waits for nobody — that is, unless you have more than one clock.

Arizona State scored a touchdown on a controversial play against Notre Dame near the end of the second quarter that had many Irish fans upset Saturday night. But they shouldn’t have been upset.

Here was the situation: ASU had the ball on a fourth-and-4 at the Notre Dame 36-yard line with 1:36 left in the second quarter. The Irish were leading 7-6.

On the play, ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong. But NBC had two play clocks on the screen — its own and the one from the scoreboard. When the center moved the ball to start the snap, NBC’s clock showed zero, and cameras then flashed to Irish coach Brian Kelly throwing a fit, arguing for a delay of game against the Sun Devils.

However, if you watch the replay, you can clearly see that the stadium clock — the one that matters — has not turned to zero when the center starts his snap (see the screenshot above).

There’s always an inherent slight delay, because the official has to look at the clock turn to zero and then look at the ball. But in this case, the snap had started before the clock hit zero.

Why NBC would put two play clocks on the screen is beyond me. TV clocks are supposed to be synced to the scoreboard, but obviously there was a half-second difference between the two in this case. And that half-second was the difference in this being a legal play rather than a delay of game.

So it’s time for the Irish and their fans to stop complaining. They won, anyway.