Tranghese punishes ref who made call; won't elaborate on penalty

Updated: October 22, 2007, 8:24 PM ET
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Steve Kragthorpe isn't dwelling on a blown call by officials in last week's 21-17 loss to Connecticut. The Louisville coach is focusing on helping his team forget a tough loss in a season full of them.

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese called Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich on Sunday, saying the referees erred during a disputed punt return for a touchdown by the Huskies (6-1, 2-0 Big East) early in the third quarter.

"It certainly doesn't change anything that happened on Friday night," Kragthorpe said. "It was a factor in the game, but it wasn't the only factor in the game."

The Cardinals (4-4, 1-2) were leading 7-0 when Cory Goettsche punted. Connecticut's Larry Taylor moved under the ball and waved his right hand above his head, appearing to make a fair catch signal.

But when Taylor caught the ball, he began running to his left and raced untouched 74 yards up the sideline for a touchdown. Several Cardinals had slowed, thinking the play was over when Taylor made the catch.

A livid Kragthorpe protested, saying the play should have been blown dead when Taylor raised his arm. Kragthorpe called a timeout and asked the referee if the play could be reviewed. Fair catch signals, however, are not reviewable under the NCAA's current instant replay policy.

Tranghese told Jurich the officials had made a "terrible" mistake. Tranghese took action against the referee who missed the call, but wouldn't elaborate on the penalty.

"The bad part is I can't change the call," Tranghese said Monday.

Louisville responded to take a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies rallied for two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to remain unbeaten atop the conference.

Kragthorpe said he'd like to see a play like that fall under the umbrella of instant replay.

"I obviously think it does because it happened not only this game, but it happened in the game against Notre Dame and USC," Kragthorpe said. "Anytime there's a subjective part to the game it needs to be reviewed."

Tranghese said there is chance the subject could come up after the season.

"We don't want to paralyze the game, but that's such a simple, simple play, if they had gone up to the booth, they would have said he gave the signal," Tranghese said. "We want to get the play right."

The loss means Louisville will have to split its final four games to become bowl-eligible for the 10th straight year.

The Cardinals host Pittsburgh (3-4, 1-1) on Saturday then finish the season with games against West Virginia (No. 8 BCS, No. 6 AP), South Florida (No. 10 BCS, No. 11 AP) and Rutgers (unranked BCS, No. 25 AP).


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press