Pac-12 suspends ref for penalizing wrong team

Field Level Media

November 11, 2019 at 4:26 pm.

The Pac-12 Conference suspended a referee for penalizing the wrong team during Cal’s 33-20 victory against Washington State on Saturday.

The official penalized the Cougars 15 yards for illegal hands to the face on a kickoff return in the third quarter, forcing Washington State to begin its drive at its own 8-yard line.

But the infraction actually was committed by No. 15 of the kicking team, Golden Bears linebacker Ben Moos, and not the Cougars’ No. 15, cornerback Armauni Archie.

“After the next play was run, the referee informed Washington State that there was an error in application of the penalty,” the conference said in a press release Sunday night. “… The penalty should have been assessed on California at the end of the play with the ball spotted at California’s 35-yard line — a 57-yard difference in field possession at the beginning of the drive.

“The conference confirmed the penalty for hands to the face was correct. However, the mechanics and communication were incorrect in assessing the penalty to Washington State instead of California.”

The referee, listed in the gamebook as Matt Richards, was suspended for one game and the rest of the officiating crew was downgraded, the Pac-12 said.

The Cougars wound up kicking a field goal on the controversial drive to cut Cal’s lead to 20-14.