The word "disappointed" was probably not the first one that came to USC head coach Lane Kiffin's mind when asked about the officiating during their triple overtime loss to the Stanford Cardinal Saturday night. And he may have good cause to feel that way.
Kiffin's main beef was during the final seconds of regulation as USC had the ball on the Cardinal 40 with about 9 seconds left in regulation and the score tied at 34. Robert Woods caught a short pass from Matt Barkley in the middle of the field, darting his way to the sideline but was tackled as the clock was expiring. Officials ruled the end of regulation came as Woods went down before the sideline, even though the clock clearly had one second left. Kiffen was even seen calling a timeout in front of a referee and nothing happened.
"I'm really disappointed in the officials. Extremely disappointed. I communicated to them, they communicated to me exactly the situation," Kiffin said. "I called timeout with 1 second left on the clock. They said he was out of bounds which he wasn't out of bounds.
One thing Kiffin's argument did not take into account was the fact that calling a timeout can't immediately stop the clock. There is a bit of delay once the play ends and the clock is officially stopped.
"Any coach can ask for a timeout but he doesn't get one until an official grants or signifies it," head referee Michael Batlan said. "I was not part of any conversation with regards to a requested timeout.''
Even if Kiffin was to get the timeout in time, they would have still had to make a 50-yard field goal to win the game, which just so happes to be kicker Andre Heidari's career best, so no guarantees there. But at least they would have had a shot to end it before overtime.
For more on the Trojans, head over to Conquest Chronicles.