You never want the referees to decide a game, but that’s exactly what happened during last night’s Miami/Duke game where several blown calls led to the Hurricane’s 30-27 win over the Blue Devils. As a result, the ACC has suspended the on-field officiating crew as well as the replay official and communicator for two games.
Here are the errors the league is specifically suspending them for:
- The replay official erred in not overturning the ruling on the field that the Miami player had released the ball prior to his knee being down. If called, this would have ended the game.
- The on-field officials erred by failing to penalize Miami for an illegal block in the back at the Miami 16-yard line. If called, the ball would have been placed at the Miami 8-yard line and the game would have been extended for an untimed down.
- A block in the back foul was called at the Duke 26-yard line. After the officials conferred, which is appropriate, they correctly determined that the block was from the side, which resulted in the flag being picked up. The replay official was not involved in the decision to pick up the flag; however, the referee did not effectively manage communication and properly explain why the flag was picked up.
- In addition, the on-field crew failed to penalize a Miami player for leaving the bench area and entering the field prior to the end of the play. This foul would not have negated the touchdown because it would have been enforced as a dead ball foul.
“The quality of our officiating program is of the highest importance to the league and its schools, and the last play of the game was not handled appropriately,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “Officiating is an extraordinarily difficult job but our players, coaches, programs and fans deserve the best that can be offered. We will continue to strive to meet that standard.”
Duke’s head coach David Cutcliffe, who was infuriated by the call after the game, acknowledged the swift action by the ACC, but noted that it doesn’t change the final score.
"Only thing I'm not satisfied with is you can't get the score right." — Cutcliffe on ACC decision today
— Stephen Wiseman (@stevewisemanNC) November 1, 2015
The loss is a huge blow to the Blue Devils’ standing in the ACC’s Coastal division. If the play were ruled correctly, they’d be tied with Pitt for 2nd place.