We experts in The Cave were in a quandary about the clock starting “early” on an out of bounds play in the UCF game. I looked at the rule book to clear it up. And it turns out that the officials were right.
The rulebook (3-3-2-e-3) states that the clock starts on the referee’s signal (i.e., when the ball is spotted) after out-of-bounds plays except within two minutes of the end of each half. During those two minute periods, the clock starts on the snap.
The play in question was at 2:42. O’Brien went ballistic when the clock started. O’Brien was wrong.
I guess the rules change happened without consulting our expert asses whenever the hell it took place. Nevertheless, it seems like it was a reasonable move to speed up games (which are slowed down enough by the rules permitting TV and radio to control timeouts) and yet preserve the strategic flair of the two-minute offense.