Unprovoked, the Pac-12 Conference issued an apology to Washington coach Steve Sarkisian for a penalty that wiped out a UW touchdown in the Huskies’ 41-31 loss 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 UW offensive lineman Dexter Charles that negated the touchdown should not have been called, the Pac-12 told Sarkisian over the weekend.
“What good is an apology? It’s not going to get me seven points back,” Sarkisian said Monday.
Instead of the touchdown, that UW drive ended with a punt.
Washington, flagged for 11 penalties against UCLA, leads the nation in penalties at 8.9 per game (overtaking the Bruins, who average 8.8).
“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,” he added, “that one play is not the reason why we lost that ballgame.”
Pac-12 rules prohibit coaches from making public comments about officiating, and Sarkisian has generally been careful not to criticize officials this season. But he admitted Monday to some frustration over the calls.
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“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. “I’m all about officiating the game and officiating it equally. If we’re going to have 11 penalties, and UCLA’s going to have eight, it is what it is. But when we go into ballgames and one team has 10 and the other team has two … that’s when it gets frustrating on our end.”
The Huskies were flagged for three pass-interference penalties against UCLA, one of which negated an interception by safety Sean Parker. UCLA scored a touchdown on its drives after all three of those penalties, Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian said Monday that he also disagreed with a first-quarter fumble against UW tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, which was upheld after a review. Sarkisian believed the pass to Seferian-Jenkins should have been ruled incomplete.