NC State coach Tom O'Brien has been informed by Doug Rhoads, head of ACC football officials, that the play the Wolfpack coaching staff challenged in the third quarter of last Saturday's game against Clemson was a fumble and should have been overturned, giving NC State the football. Clemson was leading 24-14 at the time of the play.
"I think it's the right thing for them to do to admit the error was made, and hopefully from it a similar error will not be made," O'Brien said. "It's crucial for us at that point in the football game -- it's the middle of the third quarter, it's a 24-14 game, it's a situation that with all the young kids and inexperience we have on defense those kids are fighting for their life. We come out of the locker room knowing we're going to get the football. We go down the field and score. We talked about doing that, we talked about the defense getting the stop and getting the ball back for us, which they did, but they really didn't because we weren't given that opportunity. It was a huge play in the game and devastating for this football team, so I hope someone learns from it, and it doesn't happen again."
It won't help O'Brien now, but anyone who saw that play could tell it was a fumble on the replay. The ACC officials have made a few headlines this year, but once the final statistics come out at the end of the season, they'll show the crews got far more right than they did wrong. Of course, it's the ones they got wrong that fans and coaches remember. Like O'Brien said, the point of these evaluations after the fact is so the mistakes don't happen again.