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Big East approves final play

The Big East is standing by its officials Sunday.

The conference released a statement saying the correct procedures were followed and the right call, or non-call, was made on the final play of Notre Dame's overtime loss to Michigan State on Saturday night.

Michigan State kicker Dan Conroy had lined up for a 46-yard field goal attempt, but instead, holder Aaron Bates pulled up and hit tight end Charlie Gantt in stride for a game-winning 29-yard touchdown after an Irish defender felld down.

Here is the statement for the Big East:

The last play of the Notre Dame-Michigan State game has been reviewed by Terry McAulay, the coordinator of football officiating for the Big East conference. After review, the conference believes that the game officials correctly applied the proper mechanics and guidelines that are in place to determine, in a consistent manner, when a flag should be thrown for delay of game.

These mechanics are as follows:

The responsibility is assigned to the Back Judge, who in this situation was standing beneath the upright. Proper mechanics dictate that his focus be directed to the play clock as it approaches zero. When the play clock display reads zero, he must re-direct his attention to the ball. At that time, if the snap has not started, a flag will be thrown for delay of game. If the snap has begun, no flag will be thrown.

Under these procedures, there will always be a small amount of lag time between the time the clock reads zero and the time the back judge is able to see the football.

On the play in question, this lag time created the situation where it appears the play clock expired just before the snap. We believe the snap occurred well within the normal lag time for the back judge to make this determination.

This play is not reviewable under current NCAA rules.