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In the Arkansas Alabama football game, Alabama had the ball third and two with a minute and ten seconds left in the game and the clock was down to 2 seconds.  Arie Kouanjo had a false start and the penalty was assessed and the clock was set at 25 seconds and the game clock was restarted.  As a result of the restart and the running of the play, Alabama was effectively allowed to get the clock below 40 seconds and the third down play was the last play of the game, depriving Arkansas of the chance to get the ball with 20 seconds left in the game.  Was the clock setting by the referee proper?


Thank you for your question.  I understand the confusion.  In the NFL, penalties near the end of a half cause the clock to stop, and start again on the snap.  Under NCAA rules, after a penalty, the play clock is set to 25 seconds, and the game clock is resumed to what it was doing prior to the stoppage.  So, in your example, the false start caused the running clock to stop.  Because it was running, it is to restart at the ready for play after the penalty.  

That said, Rule 3-4-3 does permit the referee to order the game clock stopped if he deems the team to be using unfair tactics to consume time.  In this case, the referee decided that Alabama was not using obviously unfair tactics to consume time.  Therefore, the clock setting was correct.

I hope that helps.

Bill Robers

College Football

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William Robers


I can answer rules questions and officiating questions (including training, mechanics, and general questions).


College Football Official since 2005; assist in training newer officials.

Big Sky Conference Officials Association Sports Lawyers Association Rotary International

Law Degree from University of Minnesota Law School, 2001 MBA from Carlson School of Management at the U. of Minnesota, 2001 B.S. in Business Administration from Marquette University, 1997

Awards and Honors
Post-Season official in 2012 and 2013.

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