Bill Carollo, the MAC’s head of officials, called me back Thursday, and this story — Carollo’s response to JMU coach Mickey Matthews’ criticism of the officiating in the Akron game — ran Friday (Sept. 13, 2013).
HARRISONBURG, Va. — James Madison football coach Mickey Matthews disagreed with how the referees officiated at the end of the Dukes’ 35-33 loss to Akron last week. Bill Carollo, the Mid-American Conference’s coordinator for officials, said Thursday that the refs did just fine.
“I thought it was handled properly,” Carollo said after reviewing film of the game.
On the last play, JMU wide receiver Arlandis Harvey caught a pass across the middle that was close to a first down. But time expired before the referees could set the ball, costing the Dukes a chance to kick a potentially game-winning field goal.
Carollo — a 61-year-old former NFL referee who heads a consortium that also coordinates officials for the Big Ten, Missouri Valley Conference and Pioneer League — said the officials hustled, but there wasn’t enough time for a play after Harvey fought for extra yardage and talked to the officials before giving them the ball.
“It was a slight delay with him getting the [refs the] ball, and he had some conversation with the umpire or referee, but the officials were in hurry-up mode, trying to get the ball in place at the right forward progress,” Carollo said. “He got pushed back about two yards, three yards. He didn’t go down, so they blew the whistle, but he was struggling for yardage.”
Matthews contended Monday that the refs let the clock run out.
“There was too much time left on the clock to just stand there and let the clock run out,” the 15th-year coach said. “They should have stopped the clock, marked the ball to about three or four seconds.”
Carollo said Harvey wasn’t close enough to a first down to merit a measurement.
Matthews also questioned a dead-ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Dae’Quan Scott after the tailback picked up a first down. The penalty gave JMU the ball at its own 16 instead of its 31.
Carollo said the penalty was reported as the “running back forcibly shoves the defender in the neck and shoulder after being tackled,” and that it was not “down as graded incorrectly” after a review. Carollo said every play of each game is reviewed.