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Here’s why this OSU-KSU last-minute penalty didn’t fall under the 10-second runoff rule

Kansas State fell to No. 18 Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon, and it came down to the last seconds.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

With 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter as Kansas State trailed 43-37 to No. 18 Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Wildcats faced a second-and-goal from OSU’s 5-yard line. Wildcat QB Jesse Ertz found Dominique Heath on the Cowboys’ 1-yard line, short of the goal line.

The running clock was then stopped by the referees with four seconds left, as Kansas State was called for offensive pass interference.

That was a penalty on the offense. So why didn’t the clock automatically run out, per the 10-second runoff rule, which is designed to keep teams from intentionally committing penalties late in games in order to manage the clock without calling a time out? Especially since this gave KSU another play it wouldn’t have had time to run otherwise?

(OSU won, so this didn’t change the result.)

"It was interesting,” OSU head coach Mike Gundy said during the postgame interview. “If it wasn't for that, the clock would've ran out. It worked to their favor, just a little bit."

Not every penalty causes the 10-second runoff.

Below is an excerpt from our explainer of the NCAA’s 10-second runoff rule (we checked with SB Nation’s Cyd Zeigler, a college official, to make sure our interpretation was correct):

The fouls that call for a potential 10-second runoff are the kind seemingly designed to gain that “unfair” advantage and stop the clock: Intentional grounding, incomplete illegal forward pass, etc.

If the foul itself doesn’t cause the clock to stop (as in illegal forward pass), but the administration of the penalty causes it to stop [as in pass interference, like this Oklahoma State-Kansas State play], there is no run-off.

So, essentially, the only reason the clock stopped was to implement the penalty. If KSU had tried to stop the clock by committing a false start or throwing an illegal pass, that would’ve been a penalty that would’ve triggered the runoff.