NORMAN, Okla. - A phone call from Oregon coach Mike Bellotti was nice, but it did absolutely nothing to soothe Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops over an incorrect officials’ ruling that likely cost his team a victory over the Ducks.
“He just apologized and said that it’s unfortunate that the two of us have got to be in the middle of it,” Stoops said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “I said, ‘Well, you didn’t do anything wrong but play hard, and that’s the same thing we were trying to do.”
Stoops still was speaking out after Saturday night’s 34-33 loss in Eugene, Ore., a game in which a blown call on an onside kick led to Oregon’s winning touchdown in the final minute.
The Pacific-10 Conference admitted Monday the onside kick was touched by an Oregon player before it traveled the required 10 yards, and, therefore, possession should have been awarded to Oklahoma. The league suspended the officials responsible for one game, and commissioner Tom Hansen apologized for the mistake.
Had Oklahoma been given the ball, the offense could have run out the clock for a 33-27 win.
At Oregon, Bellotti said some might view the win as tainted.
“I feel very fortunate for us to have won that football game, not for the officials’ errors, but for how our team played,” he said. “We were lucky, we made plays and we never gave up. It’s unfortunate that any team had to lose, or the efforts of my players are questioned, because of officials’ errors.”
Bellotti told Stoops when officials determine the outcome it’s not good for either team.
“And I can understand their frustration,” Bellotti said.
Although Stoops said his team could have done things differently to prevent the game from becoming so close, he was still upset at the result.
Stoops said he was addressing the issue “for the last time” so his 17th-ranked Sooners (2-1) could get ready to play Middle Tennessee.
“I’ve said all this in this way because I feel the right to stand up for my football players,” he said. “I’m not sitting up here, me babying or whining about it.”
Stoops also disputed a pass interference call on the winning drive. The league reviewed that play, too, but found there was not indisputable evidence to reverse the call.
As for his team improving, Stoops said he’d like to see quicker starts on offense, better play in the secondary and a stingier run defense. But he refused to say what he thought the Sooners could have done to avoid the end-of-game scenario.
Sooners quarterback Paul Thompson said the team still feels “like we got a win that was taken from us.”
“You’re glad that they understand what they did, and what they did was wrong, but at the same time, it really doesn’t affect much. That was a big mistake, and you can’t really do much to change that,” Thompson said. “We accept the apology, but it doesn’t do much in the way of changing things.”
CFT: Johnny Manziel nearly transferred out of Texas A&M before the 2012 season after being suspended, according to reports, but he stayed after his successful appeal.
About 325 former Penn State players, among them Kerry Collins and Paul Posluszny, have signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno.
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