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Friday, January 3
Updated: January 9, 5:24 PM ET
Miami stunned by late flag in OT

By Bruce Feldman
ESPN The Magazine

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The fireworks shot off. The Miami coaches pumped their fists and Warren Sapp, Jessie Armstead and a bunch of other old Hurricanes raced onto the field to celebrate UM's first back-to-back job.

And then someone saw the flag.

Pass interference. On a fourth-and-three from the Miami 5. In overtime. After first signaling incomplete pass -- setting off the Miami celebration -- field judge Terry Porter threw the yellow hankie a few heartbeats after the ball fell to the turf. The penalty was on 'Canes freshman corner Glenn Sharpe who was checking OSU's Chris Gamble.

Glenn Sharpe
Glenn Sharpe was called for pass interference against Chris Gamble in OT in the Fiesta Bowl.
"I saw the guy holding the guy prior to the ball being put in the air," Porter said. "He was still holding him, pulling him down while the ball was in the air. I gave the signal for holding. Then I realized it should be pass interference because the ball was in the air."

Porter, part of a Big 12 officiating crew, says the call was delayed because he replayed it in his mind: "I wanted to make double sure it was the right call."

With new life, Ohio State scored three plays later on a Craig Krenzel QB sneak from inside the 1 to make the score 24-24 and instead of celebrating their second national title, the 'Canes were back on defense in a second OT.

"I really thought that game was over," says UM secondary coach Mark Stoops. "Just like everybody else. And there's not another official in the history of the game that would make that call."

Sharpe said he didn't think he interfered. He was only being aggressive. Just like Stoops instructed him to do. "We were blitzing," Stoops explained. "I didn't want them to catch a little slant or a little hitch. I told 'em to get in the receiver's face because there's not an official that's gonna make that call.

"They'd been letting us play all day, so let us play. A couple of plays before, they pushed off to create some separation so if you're gonna let us play, well, let us play.

"I wanna see the replay and if that's as bad a call as I think it was, something ought to be done. That was a joke. That's all I can really say."

Bruce Feldman covers college football for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at

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 Official story
GameDay: Big Ten supervisor of officials Dave Parry tells Jack Arute the right call was made in the Fiesta Bowl