SEATTLE — Unprovoked, the Pac-12 Conference issued an apology to Washington for a penalty that wiped out a UW touchdown in the Huskies’ 41-31 defeat at No. 13 UCLA on Friday night.
Trailing 27-7 in the second quarter, UW quarterback Keith Price threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to freshman Damore’ea Stringfellow. A personal-foul, hands-to-the-face penalty against offensive lineman Dexter Charles that negated the touchdown should not have been called, the Pac-12 told UW over the weekend.
“What good is an apology? It’s not going to get me seven points back,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday.
Instead of the touchdown, that UW drive ended with a punt.
Washington, flagged for 11 penalties for 113 yards against UCLA, leads the nation in penalties at 8.9 per game. UCLA, which averages 8.8 penalties, was flagged eight times against Washington.
“It’s tough because we already get penalized a lot,” Sarkisian said. “We get a lot of penalties and probably the majority of those deservedly so. But when you get one that isn’t and is obviously very clear to see that it’s not a penalty — not only is it not a penalty, it takes seven points off the board for you in a critical ballgame.
“The reality is, that one play is not the reason why we lost that ballgame.”
Pac-12 officiating has come under fire this season, never more so than during the botched ending of Arizona State’s 32-30 victory over Wisconsin on Sept. 14. The conference reprimanded those game officials two days later.
Pac-12 rules prohibit coaches from making public comments about officiating. The conference fined Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti $5,000 last month for criticizing officials (and for comments directed at Washington State coach Mike Leach).
Sarkisian has generally been careful not to criticize officials publicly; even after a controversial overturned catch ended UW’s comeback bid in a 31-28 defeat at Stanford on Oct. 5 he was relatively even-keeled in his responses.
But he admitted Monday to frustration over calls.
“We are the most penalized team, but if you take our opponents’ penalties, they’re the least penalized opponents, of common opponents, in our conference. So that part’s a little discouraging to me,” he said.
The Huskies were flagged for three pass-interference penalties against UCLA, one of which wiped out an interception by safety Sean Parker. UCLA scored a touchdown on its drives after all three of those penalties.
Sarkisian said he also disagreed with a first-quarter fumble against UW tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, which was upheld after a review. Sarkisian said the pass to Seferian-Jenkins should have been ruled incomplete.
Starting left tackle Micah Hatchie is nursing a bone bruise on his upper ankle and is questionable for the Oregon State game. “As important as (quarterback) Keith (Price) is, Micah is really important, too, to what we do. So hopefully we get him back sooner rather than later,” Sarkisian said.
Former UW quarterback Brock Huard, an ESPN analyst, will for the first time this season be part of the broadcast team for a UW game. He will be joined by play-by-play announcer Mark Jones and sideline reporter Jessica Mendoza. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Corvallis for an ESPN2 broadcast.