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Jul 06th
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Longest second benefits Rutgers over Norfolk State

savage090310_optBY MIKE VORKUNOV

The longest second in Rutgers history took 4:11 to transpire and sent an otherwise mundane game into a momentary panic and confusion to end the second quarter. In all it included the first half ending three times, two replay reviews by the referees, Norfolk State twice trying to leave the field and one angry coach.

Oh, and to top it off: THE BAND WAS ON THE FIELD!

Let's recap what happened.

With eight seconds remaining, Tom Savage completes a 29-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu alongside the left sideline with Sanu hitting the ground and three seconds remaining on the clock. This is where our clock begins.

As Rutgers is rushing back to the line of scrimmage, two seconds run off before the clock stops with :01 remaining. Savage appears ready to spike it and would have but the referees run to stop the play before it starts. But the clock has hit all zeroes and Norfolk State is running towards the sideline. The referee announces that Sanu was out of bounds after making the catch and forces the Spartans back to their sideline.

Rutgers once again sets up to run a play, this time with Savage contemplating just trying to ram it in from the three-yard line. Yet, as Savage has already snapped the ball, the referees rush in and say that the play will go under review.


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The review proves that Sanu was in bounds, by at least a yard. Since Sanu never went out of bounds, the referee determines Sanu was in bounds the whole time and announces the half is over. Now, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano motions that his team should have a second remaining.

By now the Norfolk State team has again made their way to the tunnel to go back to their locker room, engulfing San San Te and the field goal kicking unit that is setting up on the field. At midfield the Norfolk State band conductors are standing and waiting to begin the halftime show as members of the bands creep onto the field from the far end zone corner.

After once again shepherding the Spartans back to the sideline, the referee takes another review of the play and determines a correction. He rules that Sanu made the catch, stayed in bounds and because it was for a first down, it stops the clock.

This gives Rutgers the opportunity to kick the 20-yard field goal, which Te makes to give a 6-0 lead going into halftime. This is where our clock ends.

"We were very fortunate, right, but the reason we were fortunate is because they had to stop the clock for the review, but that's called football," said Schiano. "We have reviews. You could have stood there with your thumb up your nose and not gotten the team ready and get them out there and kick it, too. I thought our kids did a great job of getting out there and getting ready."

But the action doesn't end there. As Rutgers retreats back into the tunnel, Norfolk State coach Pete Adrian rushes toward the group of officials, berating them while forcing his team to stay on the field.

"I don't think they knew," said Adrian. "They said the catch was out of bounds. I said if the catch was out of bounds, ball has to go back. They said, oh no, he caught it in and the ball went out of bounds. So when he went up and spiked the ball which should have finished the half, they said we have to start the clock over.

"I said, you already did it once. They then said, well, you can't do it again you only have a second. I said when you put the ball into play, the clock should start immediately and they shouldn't have gotten a snap off. It was all confused over there. That's the way it goes. I would have liked to see them be a little more accurate with some of the calls that they had. Not that Rutgers needed any help."

All that for three points and probably the longest second any of the participants have ever lived.

For more Rutgers news, you can follow Mike Vorkunov on Twitter. If you have any comments or criticisms, email Mike at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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