University of Kansas

Did a friendly clock help Texas beat KU? Les Miles is having the Big 12 take a look

The Texas football team’s game-winning drive Saturday might have taken place with some help from a friendly timekeeper.

Kansas coach Les Miles confirmed Monday that the team had asked the Big 12 Conference to look at two instances on the Longhorns’ final drive in a 50-48 victory where the game clock did not appear to start properly.

“We’ll turn it in,” Miles said. “We’ll see what they say.”

KU’s biggest beef appears to come with 32 seconds remaining. On third-and-6, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger scrambled eight yards in the middle of the field for a first down, with the clock stopping to reset the chains.

In this instance, the game clock is supposed to restart on the official’s signal. Instead, it restarted after Ehlinger called for the snap ... more than 11 seconds after he had previously been tackled.

“There’s been other conferences I’ve been involved in. It seems like the hometown clock guy can sometimes quickly move the clock along sometimes inappropriately or sometimes hold the clock and not get it started when the play has started,” Miles said. “So I think they’ll have a look at that. We’ll see what they say.”

The only other questionable timing came just before that. After Texas’ Collin Johnson was tackled for a first down reception with 54 seconds left, it took officials 11 seconds to spot the ball and restart the game clock. Texas, in the hurry-up, started its next play with 50 seconds left.

Miles was asked what impact Saturday’s potential clock errors might have had on the outcome.

“I would say, without a timeout, that was one play,” Miles said. “With a timeout, it could have been two.”

Texas utilized all the time available in its final drive. It ran 10 plays in that 1:11, and the Longhorns also were able to set themselves up for an easier field goal in the final moments.

With 8 seconds left, Ehlinger completed a six-yard sideline pass to Devin Duvernay, which turned a potential 39-yard game-winning field goal attempt into a 33-yard try.

Kicker Cameron Dicker put that through with no time left to seal Texas’ win.

KU linebacker Najee Stevens-McKenzie said he personally didn’t notice any clock miscues while playing on the last possession. He did, however, sense that the final minute took a long time.

“I felt like every time I looked up, only like four seconds had left off the clock,” Stevens-McKenzie said. “Yeah, that was definitely ... the clock I definitely felt like should have been running.”

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Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.
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