The ACC admitted its officials made mistakes that cost Duke a 30-27 loss to Miami on Saturday night.
The conference suspended the game officials and the replay official that worked Miami’s wild win in Durham on Saturday night. The punishment didn’t do much to soothe Duke coach David Cutcliffe.
“That’s way beyond me,” Cutcliffe said Sunday, referring to the ACC’s decision to suspend the officials. “It’s frustrating that we can’t get the score right and reverse the decision.”
Under NCAA Rule 1, Article 3, Section B: “When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final.”
The game ended with a controversial eight-lateral, 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Miami. The play was reviewed by referee Jerry Magallanes and his crew for almost 9 minutes after Miami’s Corn Elder reached the end zone for the game-winning score.
There were several mistakes, and missed calls, by the on-field crew on the final play, according to the ACC’s statement released on Sunday afternoon. Magallanes’ crew has been suspended for two games for the errors, according to the ACC.
Cutcliffe had hoped the result would bring about a conversation on how to fix the college replay system. He suggested that replay officials should be able to use still photos, if necessary, to determine if a player’s knee had hit the ground.
The Duke coach also said he would be in favor, if it was cost effective, of using a centralized command center, like the NFL does, to review calls off site.
“If we want to get it right, let’s get it right,” Cutcliffe said. “Otherwise, let’s not have replay.”
According to the ACC, the mistakes were:
▪ Miami’s Mark Walton was tackled at the Miami 26-yard line by Duke’s Alonzo Saxton and his knee was down before he lateraled the ball back to Jaquan Johnson.
The play should been whistled down or correctly identified on the review and it would have ended the game with a 27-24 Duke win.
▪ The officials missed a block in the back by Miami’s Sheldrick Redwine at the Miami 16-yard line before Dallas Crawford lateraled the ball back to Elder for the last time.
If the penalty had been called, Miami would have been given an untimed down from its own 8-yard line.
▪ There was an illegal block in the back penalty called on Miami on the return, and noted by Magallanes during the review.
Walton hit Duke’s Breon Borders at the Duke 26-yard line. During the game, and ensuing review, Magallanes made it seem like the officials used the replay system to overturn the penalty call.
According to the ACC, on-field officials conferred and picked up the flag on Walton without the help of the replay official.
Magallanes did not “effectively manage communication and properly explain why the flag was picked up,” according to the ACC.
If that call had been upheld, Miami would have had an untimed down from the Duke 36-yard line.
▪ The on-field crew failed to penalize a Miami player for leaving the bench area and entering the field prior to the end of play.
This would have been a dead-ball penalty and would not have negated the touchdown.
The officiating crew that worked the game and has been suspended included Magallanes, Terrence Ramsay (umpire), Mike Owens (linesman), Jim Slayton (line judge), Robert Luklan (back judge), Bill Dolbow (field judge), Michael McCarthy (side judge), Tracy Lynch (center judge), Andrew Panucci (replay official) and George Burton (replay communicator).
In a statement released by the league, ACC commissioner John Swofford said the last play was handled inappropriately.
“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,” Swofford said.
“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.”
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio