Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney is not happy with ACC referee Tra Blake or his crew after they botched a call during the second-ranked Tigers’ win at Boston College this past Saturday.
“I wasn’t real happy and it cost me a timeout, too,” Swinney said on his radio call-in show Monday night. “We didn’t get the timeout back either.”
The play Swinney is referring to is Amari Rodgers’ muffed punt with 4:40 to play in the second quarter. At the time, Clemson was clinging to a six-point lead and it gave the Eagles the football on the Tigers’ 42-yard line.
Boston College defensive back Taj-Amir Torres ran into Rodgers as he was attempting to fair catch the football. The ball first bounced off Torres and then Rodgers.
Torres recovered the ball, while Rodgers looked around for a flag for catch-interference. But the side judge never threw it and BC was awarded the football.
It was very clear on ABC’s television replay the officials missed the call.
“The fair-catch signal is immaterial. You have to give him room to catch it,” ABC/ESPN rules expert Dave Cutaia said during the broadcast on Saturday night. “This should have been a foul.”
Swinney agreed, and again said as much when he was asked about the blown call during his call-in show on Monday night. However, the problem is the play is not review-able by replay, which is why Swinney was upset that Blake’s crew missed the call.
“I think it is pretty clear what happened. They missed the call,” Swinney said. “They are human. They missed it. It was a big miss. And they couldn’t review it. It’s not a review-able or challenge-able call.
“That right there should be a play you can challenge. That is a potentially a game-changing play.”
Luckily for Clemson, BC went backwards on the drive as they ran four plays that netted minus-5 yards.
“It’s not like they missed a hold or a block in the back,” Swinney said. “You’re talking about a play out there for the whole world to see and they just missed it. I wish that was a play that we could challenge.”
The Tigers went on to beat BC, 27-7. Clemson will host Duke this coming Saturday at Death Valley.