Several Clemson fans on social media and message boards are displaying frustration over the head referee for last Saturday’s game against Pitt, Duane Heydt, being a South Carolina grad.
Tigers fans used hashtags such as #rigged and #fishy.
According to Heydt’s Linked In page, he attended the University of South Carolina and is a real estate agent living in Columbia who also works as an ACC football official.
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The Tigers were penalized nine times for a season-high 101 yards in the loss to the Panthers. Heydt was previously the head referee this season for Clemson’s 26-7 win over Georgia Tech when the Tigers were penalized a season-high 10 times.
Clemson was averaging six penalties for 56 yards entering Saturday’s game.
Of the nine penalties called against Clemson, six were called against the Tigers’ defense with Pitt facing a third down.
The two calls that upset Clemson fans the most were the personal foul call against linebacker Ben Boulware for a late hit in the third quarter when Pitt would have had a fourth-and-1, and the holding call on K’Von Wallace after Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman threw an incomplete pass on third-and-10 with only a couple of minutes remaining in the game. The Panthers went on to score touchdowns on both drives.
Pitt also was penalized three times while facing third down, and the most controversial call against the Panthers occurred in the second quarter when Clemson was awarded a first down after pass interference was called on a third-and-26 play.
When asked about the officials after the game, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said his team had plenty of chances to win the game.
“I ain’t worried about the officials. I’m worried about the football team,” Swinney said.
This isn’t the first time this season Clemson has been involved in a game where officiating led to speculation from fan bases.
Following Clemson’s 42-36 win over Louisville, Cardinals fans were upset over the choice of head referee Gary Patterson calling the game because his daughter graduated from Clemson.
The Cardinals were penalized 11 times for 104 yards in the game, while Clemson was penalized six times for 59 yards.
In the same game, a chain crew member had the ground marker that indicated how far Louisville needed for a first down moved back away from the field on the game-deciding fourth down play late in the fourth quarter.
Video emerged of the chain crew member celebrating when Louisville receiver James Quick stepped out of bounds short of the first down.
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said of the line-to-gain marker, “I don’t think it should be marked one place when they have the ball and one place when we have the ball. … He caught the ball. He had some room to make a move, and I don’t think it was an effort thing. I’m not sure that he knew exactly where he needed to go.”