On roughing penalties, Lincoln Riley tells USC defenders keep doing 'exactly what they did'
The spotlight remains on the officiating in Utah’s 43-42 win over USC.
Trojan coach Lincoln Riley said in the postgame press conference the officiating was “really poor” and fans on both sides echoed that throughout the evening. Caleb Williams appeared to have a knee down near his own goalline on a scramble that went unnoticed. Utah fans wanted several holding penalties that went uncalled. USC fans wanted several pass interference penalties that also went uncalled.
But two moments stood out above the rest, both of them roughing the passer penalties on USC that extended scoring drives for Utah.
“We’ll put those two up from the other night and tell them to do exactly what they did every single time,” Riley defiantly told reports on Tuesday.
Lincoln Riley hasn’t changed his feelings on the two critical roughing the passer penalties from Saturday’s loss at Utah.
Riley: “We’ll put those two up from the other night and tell them to do exactly what they did every single time.”
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) October 18, 2022
On Utah’s first scoring drive, USC defensive tackle Stanley Ta’ufo’ou was whistled for roughing the passer, negating an interception in the endzone from safety Calen Bullock. USC, leading 14-0 in the early going, might have driven for a three-score lead and we would have had a much different game. Instead, the penalty gave Utah the ball back and spotted the Utes at USC’s 12-yard-line.
Micah Bernard scored on a 12-yard run the very next play.
Brock Huard, calling the game for FOX, was annoyed by the call, as you can hear below.
— Trevor Booth (@TrevorMBooth) October 16, 2022
The second ‘roughing’ penalty came in the fourth quarter, a flag on Nick Figueroa that turned a third-and-6 incompletion into a first down just past midfield. Utah quarterback Cameron Rising scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to cap the drive and tie the game at 35-35.
Figueroa said after the game he did not receive an explanation from the officiating crew about what led to his flag.
Here's a compilation of some of the #pac12refs terrible calls. Nick Figueroa called for roughing the passer, somehow, then a pass interference to save yet another drive with a clearly uncatchable ball. #USCvUtah pic.twitter.com/l2gIlJJA6d
— Justin (@justin323032) October 16, 2022
Any sort of comment from the league office at this point also likely won’t satiate either side. Officiating throughout the sport this season has produced controversial moments seemingly week after week. The Pac-12 has been involved in several blunders already, one in the Cal-Notre Dame game that resulted in a private apology from the ACC to Cal, and then another in the Oregon-Washington State game that resulted in a public apology from the Pac-12.
We’ll see if anything comes of this, but one thing’s clear: USC has a loss on its résumé now and the Trojans have to work during the bye week to make sure the reasons for it — officiating aside — don’t linger.