USC’s final play of the second quarter against Cal came after halftime.
Yes, that sentence is correct. Let’s explain.
Trailing 28-17, USC was attempting to get into position for a half-ending field goal as Caleb Williams hit Lake McRee for a 29-yard game while time seemingly expired. Lincoln Riley argued his case to officials that there was a second left on the clock, but both teams headed to their locker rooms and the Cal band took the field.
Wow. This game is hilarious. After this halftime discussion with Lincoln Riley/Justin Wilcox, refs rule that USC had one second left on the clock prior to time expiring in the first half. USC will be granted one play at the beginning of the third quarter from where ball was pic.twitter.com/IDebCrliSm
— Luca Evans (@bylucaevans) October 28, 2023
As officials conferred, halftime continued. And then they decided that there was, in fact, one second on the clock. The officiating crew also decided to run the last play of the second quarter before the start of the third quarter instead of clearing the band off the field and bringing the teams out of the locker rooms for one play.
Officials have determined that USC had the ball with 1 second on the clock before halftime.
USC will have the ball to officially conclude the 2nd quarter when we return from halftime.
— USC Football ✌️ (@uscfb) October 28, 2023
The unique circumstance led to USC kicker Denis Lynch getting to proceed through his normal halftime routine and practice the exact kick he’d get to attempt after halftime was over.
Cal can’t be happy that USC kicker Denis Lynch gets to practice the exact kick he’s about to attempt before the second half begins. I’ve never seen anything like this. pic.twitter.com/lk7di2cTOF
— Connor Morrissette (@C_Morrissette) October 28, 2023
However, that practice didn’t pay off. Lynch missed the kick from the right hash as he pushed it too far to the left.
The missed kick allowed Cal to maintain its 11-point lead as the Bears officially started the second half with the ball. After he missed the field goal, Lynch went straight to the 35-yard line for the opening kickoff of the second half.
Cal held a 43-29 lead early in the fourth quarter but allowed three consecutive touchdowns to fall behind 50-43. The Golden Bears still had a chance to win it late after a Fernando Mendoza touchdown pass to Jaivian Thomas with just over a minute left in the game, but the ensuing two-point conversion fell incomplete and USC escaped with a 50-49 win.