ACC refs suspended after botching wild last-second play that let Miami beat Duke

ACC Suspends Referees After Wild Finish to Miami-Duke Game
ACC Suspends Referees After Wild Finish to Miami-Duke Game

Miami beat Duke in jaw-dropping fashion on Saturday, throwing eight — eight! — laterals on a kickoff return and ultimately scoring the game-winning touchdown as time expired.

It was an all-time amazing play, one of the best you'll ever see — only that it shouldn't have counted.

The ACC has since suspended the eight officials working the game, explaining that the officiating crew missed four crucial calls on the game's final play, some of which would have called off Miami's thrilling touchdown. However, the outcome of the game will not be reversed.

Miami's Game-Winning TD Shouldn't Have Counted - Mike Pereira
Miami's Game-Winning TD Shouldn't Have Counted - Mike Pereira

After the game, footage circulated of a Miami player's knee hitting the ground before he'd released the ball, which the officials missed. Despite reviewing the play for nine minutes, the officials never saw the player's knee down.

"If called, this would have ended the game," the ACC said, via a press release.

The ACC also acknowledged that the refs missed an illegal block in the back penalty against Miami, and a penalty for a Miami player leaving the bench and entering the field during the return. The crew also correctly threw a flag for a different illegal block in the back against Miami, but miscommunicated after the play had ended and picked up the flag rather than enforcing the penalty.

In short — four different botched penalties should have been called against Miami, and not a single one was.

"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," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in the release. "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."

%shareLinks-quote="Despite the officials' suspension, Duke feels the NCAA ought to also reverse the outcome of the game." type="spreadWord"%

"The NCAA should have a process to reverse the outcome of the game," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Sunday in a news conference. "Nothing has changed other than they realized they got the replay wrong."

Miami, meanwhile, will take the win however they can get it:

Originally published