Thursday, September 06, 2001

Miami coach still steamed at refs

With Iowa next, Hoeppner sends message to Big Ten officials

By Ian Duthie
Enquirer contributor

        Defeating any Big Ten team on the road is a difficult enough task. Add in a handful of questionable calls by referees, Miami coach Terry Hoeppner said, and hopes of an upset are virtually impossible.

        Such was the case for Miami in its 31-13 loss last Saturday at Michigan Stadium, Hoeppner said. The RedHawks were flagged for six penalties, including two that nullified MU touchdowns. Michigan was penalized twice.

        “I am not accusing anyone of anything, I am just saying as a coach you don't like to see officials play a factor in a game,” Hoeppner said. “I feel for our kids, because sometimes they deserve better than they get.”

        This week Miami (0-1) will travel to play another team from the Big Ten, facing Iowa (1-0) Saturday.

        As of Tuesday, Hoeppner was still angered by some of the decisions the Big Ten officiating crew made at Michigan.

        Miami had a touchdown called back with 7:10 left in the third quarter and trailing the Wolverines 17-6. A flag was thrown for holding, after the ball was in the air, which angered some of the RedHawks.

        Before that, a holding call had negated a 25-yard pass on third-and-11 that would have placed Miami at the Michigan 22, trailing 17-6.

        And in the first quarter, on Michigan's first touchdown, running back B.J. Askew appeared to lose the ball before he crossed the goal line, but he was awarded the score.

        “We knew he fumbled the ball,” Miami defensive tackle Gino Di Giandomenico said. “The official (on the goal line) came in right away and said he lost sight of the ball and still gave them the score.”

        A second MU touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty with just more than a minute to play. By then, Michigan had the game won, but the call seemed to add insult to injury in Hoeppner's eyes.

        “I'm not making excuses. I refuse to do it,” Hoeppner said. “No one ever wants to say an official made a bad call. We have made a tape (of the plays in question) and we are going to send it (to the Big Ten).”

        But what's done is done. All Hoeppner and his team can do now is prepare for another difficult road contest in front of a hostile Kinnick Stadium crowd when they battle Iowa, which crushed Miami's fellow Mid-American Conference member Kent State 51-0 last week.

        “More than coaches, players are very resilient,” Hoeppner said. “I'm still in mourning, I'm still (mad), but all we can do is regroup and work hard to continue to score points.”


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