The ACC said in a statement Saturday that after further review that the officials in Friday’s North Carolina-Wake Forest football game made a mistake when they ended the game with one second left on the clock.
On UNC’s final play of the game, running back Michael Carter rushed for 13 yards and got out of bounds at the Wake Forest 43. There appeared to be one second left on the clock, which would have set up one last play for the Tar Heels who were trailing by six points. But officials ruled that the clock had expired and the game was over.
“The official on my sideline held up one second and ran up and told him, and next thing I know, they are running off with the ball,” UNC coach Mack Brown said after the game. “I sure of would have liked a chance at a Hail Mary.”
The Tar Heels ended up losing to the Demon Deacons 24-18, and fell to 2-1 on the season. Wake Forest improved to 3-0.
On Saturday, the ACC released a statement from Dennis Hennigan, the league’s coordinator of football officiating:
“Following a review of the available footage provided from the television broadcast, it has been determined that one second remained when the on-field official indicated that the ball carrier’s forward progress had been stopped at the 43-yard line. Since the on-field officials ruled that time had expired on the play, the replay official should have stopped the game for further review and put one second on the clock. Once one second was put back on the clock, the ball would have been spotted at the 43-yard line and the game clock started upon the referee’s signal. All disciplinary measures related to the replay officials are being handled internally and the ACC considers this matter closed.”
The Tar Heels trailed by 18 points entering the fourth quarter. They scored two touchdowns in the last quarter to cut the Demon Deacons lead to three points.
Wake Forest kicked a field goal to make it 24-18 with 1:09 left.
The Tar Heels got down to the Wake Forest 43-yard line before the game was called.
Howell said he didn’t see if the clock expired in time.
“At the end of the day, we shouldn’t have been in that situation,” he said after the game. “I’ve got to play better.”