Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says FSU blew coverage, got rewarded for it

Bob Wieneke
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said Sunday on a teleconference that, a day after a controversial call wiped out what would have been a go-ahead touchdown in a 31-27 loss at Florida State, he has "less clarity" on the call.

"It was pretty clear what happened on the play," Kelly said after a Will Fuller offensive pass interference call wiped out an Everett Golson-to-Corey Robinson touchdown. "Florida State blew the coverage and got rewarded for it. It's unfortunate."

Late Sunday, ACC coordinator of football officials Doug Rhoads, in a video released on the conference's website, explained the call.

Rhoads, who was at the game, said that if the ball is touched before the receiver reaches the line of scrimmage, there is no pass interference. If, however, the ball is caught beyond the line of scrimmage, the contact is pass interference. Replays indicated that Robinson caught the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.

"Offensive players on pass plays are restricted from going downfield and blocking any time from the snap," Rhoads explained. "If the ball is first touched behind the line of scrimmage, that would be legal and it's OK. But if the ball is touched beyond the line, then it's pass interference."

The call was originally believed to be against C.J. Prosise, but officially it was made against Will Fuller.

"Just adds more uncertainty as to the final play," Kelly said.

Kelly did not believe that there was anything different Fuller could have done.

"No, I mean, I think he's working back inside," said Kelly, whose team dropped to 6-1. "He did not go out of his way to impede the defender. The official that was furthest from the play that has the ability to see itt saw it differently."

After the play, a Florida State player reportedly removed his helmet, which would have been unsportsmanlike conduct call had it been seen.

"They  said they missed the call," Kelly said.

The Irish, who dropped to 6-1 overall and slipped to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the Amway Coaches poll, are idle this week before a Nov. 1 game against Navy at Landover, Md.

Kelly said Golson checked out fine  Sunday after having to be hydrated with an IV during the second half of Saturday's game. Backup linebacker Ben Councell did not play because of a concussion suffered late in the previous week's win over North Carolina.

Sunday's talk, though was about the ending of Saturday night's game.

"What  happened at the end was out of our control," Kelly said. "You've got to put them away. You can't leave it up to a decision at the end of the game."

Kelly later said he would be on a call with ACC officials and expects that he'll get "even less clarification" on the call.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said Sunday that Florida State "blew the coverage" on the controversial play against his team and got rewarded for it. ( SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, right, greets Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson after Florida State won 31-27 in an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)