Kiffin lodges a complaint about officiating

Even in defeat, it seems Lane Kiffin and Co. didn’t leave Palo Alto going down without a fight.

Less than 24 hours after watching Stanford’s Nate Whitaker kick a 30-yard field goal at the buzzer to propel the No.16-ranked Cardinal to a 37-35 victory over the Trojans, Kiffin made sure to let the Pac-10 know he was less than pleased with officiating blunders that took place throughout USC’s second straight defeat.

“There’s a number of issues,” Kiffin said in response to why he filed a formal complaint Sunday morning. “The entire game there was never a flag that was a judgment call [on Stanford]. Only for offsides or false starts.”

In addition to being irked about the lack of judgment calls made in favor of the cardinal and gold, Kiffin also managed to direct a sarcastic quip in the direction of Stanford’s head coach Jim Harbaugh in regard to the disparity of flags thrown during their instant classic — eight penalties for USC to only three thrown against the Cardinal.

“I’m going to have to ask coach Harbaugh in the offseason how he does such a nice job,” Kiffin quipped.

Although the subject of yellow flags made up the majority of his formal complaint, Kiffin was also irate about clock management. And unlike against Washington, this time the finger wasn’t pointed in the other direction.

After senior running back Allen Bradford’s 10-yard run to the Stanford 3-yard line with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, the clock should have started running after a 10-second reprieve for the chain gang.

On Saturday night, the clock however stayed unchanged. The next play resulted in a Bradford touchdown, and little outrage was expressed on the Trojans’ sideline. But Sunday, Kiffin’s tune was slightly less celebratory on the matter.

“The clock is supposed to start,” Kiffin said. “We huddled up to take our time. It should have started. We were even faking audibles. They never started the clock. I expressed myself [to the Pac-10].”

Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott was in attendance Saturday night, but the conference has not acknowledged whether or not it is looking into USC’s complaint.