Tranghese: Officials Made "Terrible" Mistake On Blown Fair Catch

Monday, October 22nd 2007, 12:37 pm
By: News On 6

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Steve Kragthorpe appears to have forgiven a blown call by officials in last week's 21-17 loss to Connecticut. The Louisville coach's goal now will be to try to help his team forget another tough loss in a season full of them.

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese called Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich on Sunday, saying the referees erred during a disputed punt return for the touchdown by the Huskies early in the third quarter.

The Cardinals (4-4, 1-2 Big East) were leading 7-0 when Cory Goettsche punted to Connecticut's Larry Turner. Turner moved under the ball and waved his right hand above his head, appearing to make a fair catch signal.

But when Turner caught the ball, he immediately began running to his left, ultimately racing untouched up the sideline 74 yards for a touchdown by several Cardinals who had slowed down, thinking the play was over when Turner made the catch.

A livid Kragthorpe protested the score, saying the play should have been blown dead when Turner raised his arm. Kragthorpe called time-out and asked the referee if the play could be reviewed. Fair catch signals, however are not reviewable under the NCAA's current instant replay policy.

Tranghese told Jurich the officials had made a ``terrible'' mistake. Tranghese took action against the referee who missed the call, but wouldn't elaborate on the penalty.

``The bad part is I can't change the call,'' Tranghese said Monday.

Kragthorpe, however, wouldn't pin the loss on the officiating. Louisville responded to the touchdown by eventually taking a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

But the Huskies rallied for two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to remain unbeaten atop the conference.

``It certainly doesn't change anything that happened on Friday night,'' Kragthorpe said. ``It was a factor in the game, but it wasn't the only factor in the game.''

Still, Kragthorpe said he'd like to see a play like that fall under the umbrella of instant replay.

``I obviously think it does because it happened not only this game, but it happened in the game against Notre Dame and USC,'' Kragthorpe said. ``Anytime there's a subjective part to the game it needs to be reviewed.''

Tranghese said there is chance the subject could come up after the season.

``We don't want to paralyze the game, but that's such a simple, simple play, if they had gone up to the booth, they would have said he gave the signal,'' Tranghese said. ``We want to get the play right.''

The loss, however, means Louisville will have to split its final four games to become bowl-eligible for the 10th straight year.

The Cardinals host Pittsburgh (3-4, 1-1) on Saturday then finish the season with games against No. 6 West Virginia, No. 11 South Florida and No. 25 Rutgers.