ACC official: Overturning FSU's late INT vs. Terps would've been wrong call

No 'indisputable evidence' in Seminoles' pick of O'Brien in fourth quarter Saturday night

November 21, 2010|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — The Atlantic Coast Conference's coordinator of officials on Sunday backed the replay decision that sustained a contested fourth-quarter interception by Florida State in the Seminoles' 30-16 victory over Maryland.

Coordinator Doug Rhoads said in an interview that while "it looks like the ball may have moved," there was not enough evidence that it was trapped to reverse the call. The interception by cornerback Greg Reid gave Florida State possession at the Maryland 43 with the Seminoles ahead, 20-16.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said Sunday that he had expected the interception to be reversed. "When they showed the replay on the [video board] … I thought I saw the ball come out. I thought it would be overturned."

Rhoads said there were six views available to replay, but "only one that really gave you any kind of angle." ESPN had the same replay video available and showed it to its television audience, prompting fans and media commentators to question the call.

"In reviewing it, there just is not indisputable evidence to say that the ball hit the ground," said Rhoads, who watched the game from the press box. "It just isn't clear enough. It looks like the ball may have moved, but 'looks like' doesn't rise to the standard. You can't rule out that the player's hand isn't under the ball when it rises up."

Florida State was quickly forced to punt after the call on the field was upheld. But the Seminoles never surrendered the ball because Maryland's Cameron Chism fumbled the punt. Moments later, Florida State's Dustin Hopkins kicked a 34-yard field goal to increase the lead to 23-16 with 4:37 left.

Friedgen called the replay decision "an important play in the game. At least if we were allowed to punt it, it would have changed field position."

Friedgen said Maryland's own video did not clearly show the play. "I can't see it on our tape," the coach said. He said he assumes the officials had a good angle and that he has no plans to complain to the conference.

It was a rough day for Friedgen.

Not only were his Terps (7-4, 4-3 ACC) eliminated from contention for the Atlantic Division title, but he was slammed to the turf on the sidelines during the game.

Friedgen said he was dizzy after getting hit by Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. "Hit my head pretty good," said Friedgen, who said he had a bloody finger and scratches and had been worried about breaking his artificial hip.

"I've been hit harder, but not in 40 years," said Friedgen, 63, a former Maryland offensive lineman.

Notes: Friedgen said the Terps are looking forward to playing in a bowl game. Maryland's last regular-season game (against North Carolina State) will start Saturday at 3:30 p.m. "This team is better than 7-5," the coach said. "This has been one of my favorite teams and I want to see them win their last game." Friedgen said that injured center Bennett Fulper (hand) may play Saturday, but it appears fellow lineman Justin Lewis (knee) may not. He said freshman tackle Max Garcia's status (leg) is uncertain. All were injured Saturday.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sunjeffbarker

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