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ACC suspends officiating crew for 'series of errors' in Duke-Miami finish

<p>Hurricane wide receiver Rashawn Scott appeared to run onto the field prior to Corn Elder crossing the goal line, but the Hurricanes' last-gasp touchdown stood and decided the game.</p>

Hurricane wide receiver Rashawn Scott appeared to run onto the field prior to Corn Elder crossing the goal line, but the Hurricanes' last-gasp touchdown stood and decided the game.

The ACC has suspended the members of the on-field officiating crew and the replay officials involved in Saturday's wild game between Duke and Miami at Wallace Wade Stadium due to numerous officiating errors committed on the game's final play.

The Hurricanes left Durham with a 30-27 win after eight laterals on the game's final play—a squib kick by Duke's Ross Martin—produced a touchdown by Miami junior Corn Elder.

In a statement, the ACC noted that "a series of errors" were made, including that a Hurricane player was down with the ball still in his hand. If the ruling on the field had been correctly reversed, the game would have ended as a 27-24 Duke victory.

“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 statement. “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.”

The on-field officials, replay official and replay communicator will serve a two-game suspension.

The full list of errors noted by the ACC is below:

  • The replay official erred in not overturning the ruling on the field that the Miami player had released the ball prior to his knee being down. If called, this would have ended the game.
  • The on-field officials erred by failing to penalize Miami for an illegal block in the back at the Miami 16-yard line. If called, the ball would have been placed at the Miami 8-yard line and the game would have been extended for an untimed down.
  • A block in the back foul was called at the Duke 26-yard line. After the officials conferred, which is appropriate, they correctly determined that the block was from the side, which resulted in the flag being picked up. The replay official was not involved in the decision to pick up the flag; however, the referee did not effectively manage communication and properly explain why the flag was picked up.
  • In addition, the on-field crew failed to penalize a Miami player for leaving the bench area and entering the field prior to the end of the play. This foul would not have negated the touchdown because it would have been enforced as a dead ball foul.

Duke heads to Chapel Hill Saturday to take on North Carolina in a pivotal game in the race for the ACC Coastal Division title.

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