Bob Davis, BYU's all-conference middle linebacker, was not impressed. The No. 2-ranked Miami Hurricanes did not impress him. Neither did the seven men in striped shirts who officiated the BYU-Miami game Saturday night in the Orange Bowl - a game won by Miami 41-17.
"This is not a great football team," Davis said, referring to Miami. "In my opinion they're on a level with Wyoming or UTEP or some of the other teams we've played this year. They're not the best team in the nation, by any means. They win by breaks. They beat Arkansas (last week) by breaks, and that's how they won tonight."Davis said part of Miami's "breaks" came from an officiating crew that lost no love on the Cougars.
"They (the referees) were ridiculous," said Davis, whose 11 tackles (three unassisted and eight assisted) were the most for BYU and tied for game-high honors. "They were mad at us for some reason, and they were on us all night.
"They kept coming into our huddles, telling us things, yelling at us. It was uncalled for. I was screaming at them the whole time. Miami was screening its receivers the whole game, which is illegal, and on sweeps, they (Miami's offensive linemen) were tackling us, which is also illegal. I must have been tackled by the feet at least 10 times, and it was never called."
The refereeing crew was made up of officials from the Southern Independent Collegiate Officials Association.
At halftime, BYU Coach LaVell Edwards engaged in a shouting match with the officials as he left the field. After the game, however, the coach declined comment on the officiating.
BYU wide receiver Chuck Cutler also noticed a heavy-handed attitude by the referees. "They seemed to really get on us, and I don't know why," he said. "They were talking to us a lot, and they got more into the game than I thought they should. I had no problem with Miami's players. The defensive back covering me was a class guy."
Cutler didn't detract from Miami's lofty national reputation. "They have good athletes, and I think they're definitely a No. 2 team," he said. "But I don't think that's why we got beat. We beat ourselves. The good teams don't turn the ball over a lot, and that's what we've been doing. We could have been 10-1 or 11-0 this year if we didn't turn the ball over. That's the difference between us and Miami."