The sideline interference penalty

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
7:20
PM PT
With less than 30 seconds left in the first half and USC down on the Arizona seven-yard line while up 24-12, a curious sideline interference penalty was called on the Trojans, pushing them back five yards and killing their momentum.

Lane Kiffin ended up settling for a 31-yard field goal attempt, which Andre Heidari converted to give USC a 27-12 lead at the break.

But what exactly happened to warrant the penalty? The ruling on the field was that Kiffin had come out of the designated coach's box on the sideline.

USC's head coach fumed about it after the game.

"I guess that I came out onto the field by a couple feet when the ball was down on the 10-yard line," Kiffin said. "So I made sure we did a great job of staying back [from then on], because I know [Arizona coach Mike] Stoops does such a great job. As you watch the games, he never comes on the field and does a phenomenal job of staying in the box."

Sarcasm aside, Kiffin did get a makeup call when Stoops was called for the same infraction in the third quarter when Wildcats cornerback Shaquille Richardson wrestled a Matt Barkley pass away from Marqise Lee. He said that call pleased him, although he had been pleading with the officiating crew to call that penalty for quite some time.

"I showed him during the game, before the penalty, that he was standing out on the numbers and then I go out with one foot and get a penalty," Kiffin said. "But it doesn't matter what I did -- I shouldn't have gone out with one foot in the field when the ball's on the 10-yard line and 35 yards away from me.

"It won't happen again," he continued, with sarcasm in full effect. "It really affected the play a lot."

Then, as another question was about to be asked, Kiffin interjected.

"No more questions on that," he said. "I don't feel like getting fined."

It was the first such penalty called against USC in Kiffin's 18 games as the Trojans' head coach.
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