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Wolverines

Carr blasts refs: 'It was ludicrous'

He wanted a flag on the final play

December 30, 2005

BY MARK SNYDER

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

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Lloyd Carr called the officiating 'ludicrous.'

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Close calls

  • The Alamo Bowl marked the fourth time this season Michigan lost after giving up a late score. The Wolverines (7-5) won three times on the last play of the game. The highs and lows:


    THE Defeats


    Wisconsin 23, Michigan 20: The Wolverines led, 20-16, before Badgers quarterback John Stocco scored on a four-yard run with 24 seconds left.


    Minnesota 23, Michigan 20: Gophers freshman Jason Giannini kicked a 30-yard field goal with one second left. A 61-yard run by Gary Russell set up the kick.


    Ohio State 25, Michigan 21: The Wolverines blew a 21-12 lead in the last seven minutes. The Buckeyes won on Antonio Pittman's three-yard run with 24 seconds left.


    Nebraska 32, Michigan 28: U-M blew a 28-17 lead in the final 8 1/2 minutes. Nebraska won on Zac Taylor's 15-yard TD pass to Terrence Nunn with 4:29 left.


    The Victories


    Michigan 34, Michigan State 31 (OT): Garrett Rivas kicked a 35-yard field goal after MSU missed a field-goal attempt in overtime. U-M lost a fourth-quarter lead when Chad Henne fumbled while attempting to pass, and MSU returned it for a TD. (Officials reviewed the play -- sound familiar?)


    Michigan 27, Penn State 25: Henne completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham with no time left on the clock. After allowing a Penn State touchdown, Michigan drove 53 yards in 53 seconds for the winning score.


    Michigan 23, Iowa 20 (OT): Jerome Jackson ran one yard for a touchdown in overtime. Iowa had tied the score on Kyle Schlicher's 32-yard field goal on the last play of regulation.

How they called that final, wacky play

  • ESPN's Mike Tirico, an Ann Arbor resident: Looking for a Music City Miracle, they're back behind the line of scrimmage. The game is not over yet. The game is not over yet! Nebraska players are on the field. The play hasn't been whistled dead yet. Hang on a second here. The play is still alive! As Ecker goes down the field for Michigan. (Commentator Kirk Herbstreit interrupts and says, "Oh my gosh!") ... Out at the 15-yard line.


    Michigan radio network's Frank Beckmann: Hart's running with it. Nebraska's got the whole team on the field. (Color man Jim Brandstatter interrupts, "They haven't blown the whistle!") Racing it up the right sideline, Tyler Ecker to the 15-yard line. Now the whole Nebraska team is on the field. Clearly they have too many men on the field. Now, did they ever blow it dead? That's the question. I'm assuming they did, because the officials are running off the field. And the ball game ends on the Blue Diamond Almonds nuttiest play of the game. And Nebraska wins the game. (Beckmann gets extra credit for working his sponsorship plug in there.)


    Nebraska radio's Jim Rose, who thought the game was over midplay: Avant then throws it back a la California and gives it to Manningham. Manningham looking for help ... throws it back to Avant. Time has expired. What's going to happen? Avant throws it up for grabs. The pass is caught by a Michigan guy, taken it out of his hands, and the ball game is over and that's a Nebraska Alamo Bowl win. Michigan continues to run the ball down the field. There are players all over the football field as the Huskers tackle him at the 15-yard line.


    INSIDE: PAGE 5D


  • Step-by-step graphic of the Alamo Bowl's final play.


  • Lloyd Carr blasts Sun Belt officials for replay snafus, last play.


  • How Michigan struggled all season in the fourth quarter.


  • Bowl roundup.

SAN ANTONIO -- Michigan coach Lloyd Carr no doubt had another restless night early Thursday.

Carr called it "a long night," although he wouldn't say how much he slept.

The Wolverines were at the Alamodome past midnight after their 32-28 loss to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl, and Carr was still seething Thursday morning about the Sun Belt Conference officiating crew. The crew struggled with the replay system.

"It was ludicrous," Carr said.

Asked if he could do anything about it, he said: "It's too late. The commissioners, I'm sure, have a big voice in who officiates these games."

Carr's discomfort stemmed from a number of plays, including the last one, when Michigan lateraled seven times and ended up at the Nebraska 13. Cornhuskers players (and several photographers) poured onto the field when the ball was still alive. Several Michigan players came onto the field as well.

No penalties were called on the play, but David Parry, NCAA national coordinator of football officials and coordinator of officials for the Big Ten, told ESPN.com on Thursday that both teams should have been penalized for extra people on the field.

The bowl was the officiating crew's first experience with instant replay, and there were a few early glitches in the system.

Carr was animated on the sidelines in the first half when a possible Nebraska fumble wasn't reviewed. The Cornhuskers eventually scored a touchdown. Carr was upset again when he had to use a time-out in the third quarter to allow the officials enough time to consider a replay on a Nebraska touchdown, which was overruled after a review. After the game, Carr vented a bit, saying college football could use a coaches' challenge to correct obvious mistakes the officials might not consider. Carr said of a challenge: "It's only fair."

He also talked Thursday about Michigan's 7-5 record, the school's worst since the team went 6-6 under Bo Schembechler in 1984.

"I don't think you ever disregard the record," Carr said. "The record is the result from the games and is an important standard and we're all disappointed with that. But I'm not disappointed in our players. They fought to the last minute of the last game.

"Every game, but certainly every season, has its lessons."

Even through the sting of the loss, Carr noted that U-M's young players benefited by playing so much this season.

"In a lot of ways, we were a very young football team, particularly at certain positions," he said. "If you look at (Antonio) Bass, (Mario) Manningham, Mike Massey, Kevin Grady and Will Paul, we had a lot of young guys get a lot of valuable experience. ... In terms of future teams here at Michigan, it will be valuable."

NOTEBOOK: Asked about LaMarr Woodley's possible departure for the NFL draft, Carr said he had not consulted with his star junior defensive end. "If you want to go, you go," Carr said. ... The Wolverines' pass rush produced five sacks for 27 yards and pounded Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor. Carr called it an "outstanding game" for defensive pressure. ... Carr clarified two injuries, saying running back Jerome Jackson didn't play because he re-aggravated an ankle injury, and offensive lineman Rueben Riley's injury was not serious because he could walk on it, even though Riley was limping with a protective boot Thursday morning.

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