PAC-12 Referees rigged the game to favor home boys WSU

Dana Holgorsen’s UH Team Gets No Respect From Refs in Top 20 Loss — a Mountain of a Job Grows Larger

Touchdown Taken Away — and the Buzz is Missing Too

BY CHRIS BALDWIN // 09.14.19



Some weirdly-timed penalty flags did plenty of damage to the University of Houston’s upset chances.

Dana Holgorsen almost pirouettes around on the sideline, his headset dangling by his ankles on its wire. He kicks out a leg in frustration. The Man Who Would Save University of Houston Football knew there’d be days like this — matchups when the deck is so stacked against him that it seems almost unfair.

Like trying to play Jenga blindfolded — while balancing on a high wire between two skyscrapers.

After all, as Holgorsen himself notes later, “He’s been there eight years — I’ve been here eight months.” The other he is Washington State coach Mike Leach, the Holgorsen Air Raid buddy whose offense rips off a 21-3 blitz against the first-year UH coach’s team in the critical juncture of the second half to secure a 31-24 win.

Holgorsen could handle Leach’s program building edge — and even his huge depth advantage. Major Applewhite didn’t exactly leave the UH cupboard stacked for him. What Holgorsen couldn’t quite stomach is having to fight uphill against the referees as well.

One sign of how Holgorsen needs to go in program building could be found in the fact that only 40,523 of the 72,000-plus seats at NRG Stadium are filled in what’s essentially the Cougars’ marquee game in the city of Houston this season. Another could be seen in the yellow penalty flags that hit UH as hard as Washington State.

Houston did not exactly receive a ton of respect from the Pac-12 crew that officiated this Texas AdvoCare Texas Kickoff.

A holding call negates an electrifying 72-yard touchdown run from Houston quarterback D’Eriq King. The flags’s thrown on wide receiver Jeremy Singleton, who is behind the play, and not really a factor in what develops.

“That kind of sucks,” Holgorsen says of the play. “As opposed to a touchdown, you’re third-and-10. Yeah, kind of hurts. Seems like we were overcoming that stuff every single drive. I don’t know what to say about it…

“I know I’ve done this for a long time and you can call that on every play. I just thought the timing was bad.”

The straight-talking Holgorsen is right. A college football official can call holding on almost every play if he wants to. Most do not if the hold is away from the play.


Houston will get called for eight penalties on Friday night — more than the Cougars had against No. 4 Oklahoma (six) and overmatched Prairie View (five). “It wasn’t a problem,” Holgorsen says of penalties in the first two games.

What changed against Washington State? “Ask the refs,” Holgorsen quickly shoots back.

This is not a Bill Worrell, divorced from reality, type rant against the officiating. No one is arguing that Houston should have won the game. Holgorsen understands better than anyone how big the talent gap is between these current Coogs and No. 20 Washington State.

Besides, the apparent lack of respect from officials is another sign of how far this Houston football program needs to go. How far Holgorsen must lift it. UH has dropped a long way from the Tom Herman squad that upset No. 3 Oklahoma in front of a packed, buzzing NRG in the 2016 AdvoCare Texas Bowl.

More established programs get more respect from referees. That’s just reality. A program like Washington State is usually going to get the benefit of the doubt against a team in Houston’s current situation.

UH’s Early Gauntlet

Still, with 10:45 left in the fourth quarter, UH is within 21-17. In a game where that 72 yard touchdown is wiped out, a questionable spot on a third-and-5 that King seems to convert results in a fourth-and-inches fumble disaster and a could have been interception by UH is ruled incomplete. That is a lot of what ifs for a Friday night of college football at NRG.

After it’s over, Holgorsen walks into an interview room at the NFL stadium wearing a sports coat and a little sense of annoyance. “We don’t want moral victories or any of that crap,” he barks at one point, seemingly answering a question that wasn’t even asked.

With his now 1-2 team — one that’s played arguably the best team in the Big 12 and the best team in the Pac-12 in the first three weeks of the season — Holgorsen is more encouraging.

“He said it was a hard loss,” UH free safety Gleson Sprewell says when I ask about Holgorsen’s message in the locker room. “We wanted to win that game. We hate losing in front of our fans in our home city.”

Holgorsen’s current version of the Air Raid Offense, which is more like a Ground Raid with this UH team, does rack up 239 rushing yards against a good Washington State defense, ripping off 6.1 yards per carry. Even with that 72 yarder called back.

King may never look like a Heisman Trophy candidate in this offense, but Holgorsen is setting Houston’s program up for the future. Billionaire backer Tilman Fertitta’s No. 1 choice for the UH job knows it’s not only about this season, it’s about seasons to come.

The Red Bull-chugging coach is in this for the long haul.

“We’re 1-2, nobody’s happy, but it’s two Top 20 teams,” Holgorsen says. Houston loses by 18 points at No. 4 Oklahoma and by seven points to 3-0 Washington State at NRG. It’s a little different than getting blown out by Army 70-14.

They only pay you for beating the spread at sportsbooks, though. The Man Who Would Save University of Houston Football knows he will be held to a higher standard.

Dana Holgorsen needs to get UH’s respect back — from casual fans in a city with a plethora of good sports options, from referees, from the big dogs of college football.

This “kickoff” game in mid September is another well run show from Jamey Rootes and his Lone Star Sports & Entertainmentcrew. But UH’s football program must raise its level to bring real buzz back to matchups like this.

“It exposes you to a lot,” Cougars running back Patrick Carr says of playing the Washington States and Oklahomas of the world.

Sometimes, it exposes just how daunting of a job one man on the sidelines has… Pac-12 referees payback for UT vs USC


I’m glad to know that CDH doesn’t blame the loss on the refs as the blame falls on the players and changes.
I also note the story insinuates UH had a ton of penalties while in reality we had less than WSU. Minor detail for those that like to point blame at someone other than ourselves.
Yes we had a TD called back and that hurt. If “penalties could get called on every play” it should be no surprise that a penalty was called.
“We lost because of the refs” is the default response of losers.


Bull Hockey.


This is encouraging that there will no more “home” games sold to NRG !!

I would be OK with Alabama, but I could give a sh!t about the Advocare Classic.


All I see is Mrs. KHATOR there…oh, you mean the referees and their calls against UH.

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It was “ timely calls “, that the refs were doing, I was there, it was very obvious
We easily should have won by 14 points mybe more but not much more


Prior to this, the biggest job done to a UH team by officials was in Austin when Brent Chin was our quarterback. When D’Eriq broke loose and was going to score, out came the flags. When D’Eriq lunged for the first down, the refs spot was well behind the first down marker. When stepping off 15 yard penalties against WSU, they marked them as 14 yards. I could go on. But just the two plays mentioned were both back breakers. We deserved to win.


I just watched the replay of the game. Th holding call on our receiver when King broke the big run was legitimate. It did not occur “behind the play” as some have said. In fact, without the holding, the corner back very well might have tackled King for about a 10 yard gain.

I thought the bad calls were NOT calling targeting when King was nailed in the 3rd quarter and the pick play called against WSU on the TD pass was weak. Technically it was a pick, but had nothing to do with the actual play.


A “well run show” would never have presented D. D. during any portion of a UH ballgame. A “well run show” would never had public address system blaring during the playing of the UH AM following the game. Just two items that stuck in my craw . . . . .


I was one of the people who thought it was behind the play. I was definitely wrong. In my defense, there was zero wait in the beer lines near my section all game. Anything, I “saw” halfway past the 3rd is probably suspect! :joy:


Just as a reference, we are tied for 66th in the nation for the most penalties with 6.33 per game. Tied with the likes of Texas A&M, Florida, BYU and Arkansas.
Teams that have more penalties than us include Alabama (whoops), Georgia, and PAC teams including Arizona, Stanford, UCLA and… wait for it…
Washington State.
Definitely a conspiracy if there ever was one.

There are times, even on a screened in porch, that a gnat buzzes and buzzes in your ear. Drives you nuts. You try to ignore it, but it keeps buzzing. Sometimes it’s hard to solve the problem, cuz that gnat is a gnat, and it’s gonna keep buzzing because that’s how it sustains itself. But man, is that gnat annoying. I wish I could ignore that gnat. But, I guess you can’t, because the porch can only do so much.


I usually don’t believe in officiating bias in football. Hoops, yes, definitely. WSU had more penalties, we didn’t overcome our penalties as well as they overcame theirs. One could argue that that was the difference between winning and losing.

On Borhgi’s long TD catch and run, we got saved by a very dubious offensive pass interference call. King’s TD run was called back because of a Singleton hold behind the play that SOMETIMES is not called, but it is holding none the less.

I see no conspiracy either. I’m sober and a responsible adult. I have references.


Yeah I’m in agreement, bad calls are a part of the game. If you aren’t good enough to over come them. A team probably wasnt good enough to win the game.


Penalties: Number-Yards 11-132 8-77

Buy Tillman Fertitta’s new book Shut up and Listen

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Ole Miss not happy with the PAC12 officials:

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But why should a team be forced to play a game where the refs intentionally or unintentionally make bad calls? Shouldn’t the refs be non-biased and call the game according to the rules and not according to who they want to win the game or which team is a Power5 or more popular in the eyes of the public? Likewise, if a ref is so incompetent and can’t call a fair and honest game according to the rule then he shouldn’t be allowed to officiate! It’s not right to have the refs decide the outcome of a game! The game should be won and lost according to the players and the coaches, not the refs!

BTW, no-calls are equally devastating to a team. Every penalty that the refs allowed Washington State to get away with is a roadblock to the Coogs’ attempt at winning. If Washington State committed 39 penalties against the Coogs but was only penalized for 11 of them, that would be a major gift by the refs for Washington State! That would be especially devastating to the Coogs if the refs called nearly every penalty that could be called against the Coogs! So the numbers of penalties each team has at the end of the game is often misleading, especially if the refs only started calling penalties against Washington State after the outcome of the game was already determined and they only called penalties towards the end of the game to cover up their shady officiating — to make it seem like the numbers of penalties being called for both teams are pretty even.

BTW, all of the scenarios I laid out above are all hypothetical and not to be taken as something that literally had actually happened in the game between UH and Washington State. But these scenarios do often happen for real when you have a game between a Power5 team and a G5 team or between a Blue Blood team against a Non-Blue Blood team, such as the game between Army and Michigan!

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