CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/AP) — Even access to instant replay doesn’t always guarantee that every call will be made correctly.
Replay officials both on-site and in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s office were not shown an angle that likely would have overturned a North Carolina touchdown in last weekend’s game against Miami.
The first-quarter touchdown catch by North Carolina’s Austin Proehl gave the Tar Heels a 10-0 lead, on the way to what became a 20-13 victory.
“The feed that proved that that should not have been a touchdown wasn’t given to the league office,” Miami coach Mark Richt told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
An ACC spokesman confirmed that replay officials were not shown the angle that would have provided a view of the ball bouncing off Proehl’s chest. The angle was shown on the ESPN broadcast when the first quarter ended, long after the review was completed.
Richt asked the ACC for clarity about the call, after the Hurricanes thought replays suggested that Proehl was stull juggling the ball when he was hit by Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman and stepped out of the back of the end zone. Proehl came down with the ball but was out of bounds.
Quarterman said Tuesday that he saw Proehl juggle the ball.
“Yes sir, I did, I did,” Quarterman said. “I saw it get juggled the first time and I didn’t think his foot was in, so when the ref said his foot was in … I’m just a player. I had nothing to do with the ref’s calls and things like that.”
Proehl’s catch was immediately signaled a touchdown by back judge Pat Ryan. It was reviewed, as is customary, though replays shown on the broadcast suggested the only question about the play was whether Proehl managed to keep a foot inbounds when the ball arrived — which he clearly did.
None of the replays shown immediately after the score showed the ball bouncing off Proehl’s chest, though one — from the back — did indicate that the ball was moving.
“It’s a shame that the feed that was available wasn’t made available,” Richt said.
It was the second straight week that a debated touchdown decision in a close game did not go Miami’s way. Running back Mark Walton had a touchdown called back against Florida State two weeks ago on a holding call well away from the play, in what finished as a 20-19 Miami loss.
“It’s the game of football,” Walton said. “Things happen like that. Bad calls, good calls, you’ve just got to move on.”
Miami (4-2, 1-2) plays at Virginia Tech (4-2, 2-1) on Thursday night in a critical ACC Coastal game for both teams.
It’s impossible to say how the Miami-North Carolina game would have changed if Proehl’s touchdown didn’t count. North Carolina likely would have tried what would have been a high-percentage 22-yard field goal if the short third-down pass was deemed incomplete, and the Tar Heels had another excellent chance for points when they ran out the clock deep in Miami territory to end the game.
Walton was at the center of a hotly debated play last season where Miami used an eight-lateral kickoff return as time expired to beat Duke, a play that led to the ACC suspending officials for two games for botching calls on the field and during the review process.
The ACC now uses a collaborative replay system, meaning the replay official at each stadium gets assistance from those watching in the league office in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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