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#pounditMonday, January 18, 2021

Ryan Day upset over ‘mismanaged’ kneeldown before halftime

Ryan Day

Ohio State made what looked like a smart decision at the end of the first half of Saturday’s game against Penn State, but it resulted in three free points for the Nittany Lions. The game clock operator may have been responsible for that outcome.

Ohio State had the ball in its own territory on 4th down with just two seconds remaining in the first half. Rather than punting, head coach Ryan Day decided to have his team snap the ball so quarterback Justin Fields could burn the final two seconds off the clock before taking a knee. Fields appeared to do that, but the game clock operator was a bit slow with the start button. Here’s what happened:

If you freeze the video above, you can see that Fields’ knee was on the ground with one second remaining. He hesitated a bit before taking a knee, so it would have been almost impossible for only one second to come off the clock. Day was stunned when the officials told him the Buckeyes had turned the ball over on downs and needed to come back onto the field.

Penn State took over on downs and kicked a field goal to cut Ohio State’s lead to 21-6 going into halftime. While the Buckeyes won 38-25, Day made his feelings about the situation known after the game.

That certainly seemed like some home cooking from the clock operator at Beaver Stadium. There’s just no way the kneel down took only one second, but officials could only go by the replay that showed Fields’ knee on the ground with one second on the clock. Had Ohio State lost, the play would have been far more controversial.

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