Pac-12 refs gonna Pac-12 ref.
In the third quarter of the Washington State-Cal game Saturday, the Cougars were penalized 15 yards for hands to the face on a kickoff return. So, instead of starting the drive at midfield, Wazzu was forced to start it at their own eight-yard line.
The only problem?
It was actually the Golden Bears who committed the penalty, which should’ve been tacked on at the end of the return and given the Cougars the ball in Cal territory.
In a statement Sunday night, the Pac-12 “acknowledged an error in officiating” during the game on the return in question. “After the next play was run, the referee informed Washington State that there was an error in application of the penalty,” the conference’s release read. “The penalty was on the kicking team number 15, not the receiving team, and the penalty should have been assessed on California at the end of the play with the ball spotted at California’s 35-yard line.
“The conference confirmed the penalty for hands to the face was correct. However, the mechanics and communication were incorrect in assessing the penalty to Washington State instead of California.”
As a result of the mistake, the referee, listed in the gamebook as Matt Richards, has been given a one-game suspension. “The remaining members of the officiating crew have been downgraded,” the conference added.
For those curious, the controversial drive that led to the punitive measures ended with a Wazzu field goal to cut Cal’s lead to 20-14 at the time. The Cougars ended up losing the game 33-20, triggering yet another Mike Leach rant.