Big East: Officials missed call in WVU-Louisville game

Updated: October 18, 2005, 4:54 PM ET
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Big East Conference says game officials were wrong in failing to call a penalty on an onside kick by West Virginia in its victory over Louisville.

"We're acknowledging that a mistake was made on the play," associate commissioner John Paquette said Tuesday. "We don't have a formal statement on it."

With the Cardinals leading 24-14 in the fourth quarter Saturday, the Mountaineers attempted an onside kick, sending a high looping ball in the air. Louisville receiver Jimmy Riley tried to catch the ball but was hit by a West Virginia player and the Mountaineers recovered.

Unlike a kickoff that rolls on the ground, which is fair game for any player after it goes 10 yards, the receiving team must be allowed to field a ball in the air. A penalty flag was thrown but was waved off after an officials' conference on the field. The Mountaineers kept the ball at their 48, drove for a field goal and scored another touchdown to tie the game and force overtime. The Mountaineers won 46-44 in triple overtime.

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino wouldn't hang the result of the game on that one play.

"It's unfortunate," he said. "But one thing we try to tell our players all the time is it's not what happens in your life, it's how you react to it. ... That's what I would have liked to see us do: find a way to win the game and react to it in a better way.

"The only thing they [officials] told me was that they didn't think he was running to catch the ball."

Louisville receiver Joshua Tinch, who tied a conference record with 13 catches, said the Cardinals had other chances to put the game away.

"We made mistakes all game," Tinch said. "We can't let just one play change the game."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press