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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Jelani Scott

Illinois’s Bielema Takes Quiet Shot at Officials After Loss to Michigan

Michigan Defeats Illinois With Late Field Goal to Remain Unbeaten (TV-PG; 0:40)

A controversial no-call late in Illinois’ game against No. 3 Michigan (11–0) drew the ire of coach Bret Bielema on social media following Saturday’s 19–17 loss on the road.

The questionable play occurred on fourth-and-3 with less than minute left in the game as Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy completed a pass to running back Isaiah Gash for a crucial eight-yard gain. The pivotal moment appeared to have been made possible thanks to a potential offensive pass interference on tight end Colston Loveland, a missed call that helped set up an eventual game-winning Jake Moody field goal.

After the game, Bielema, who also voiced his frustration during his media session with reporters, took exception with the referees over the play on Twitter after a fan questioned why Loveland wasn’t flagged for pass interference on what appeared to be an illegal pick play.

“To all #ILL players, coaches and especially for our fans…. We will work all week in practice to defend this play especially on 4th down #famILLy,“ Bielema tweeted.

The tweet came not long after Bielema’s fiery post-game press conference during which he shared that he was “extremely pissed off” with what transpired and how the game ended for his players.

“Very angry. Very upset,” said Bielema, per 247Sports. “Think our kids did a lot to win the football game and to continually have things go against us, very frustrating. You have to stand up for the people you believe in. I believe in that locker room big time. I know they’ll rise up to the challenge once again.”

In addition to just falling short of a massive upset, the Fighting Illini’s tough Saturday in Ann Arbor also saw Bielema raise several issues with the refs during the game. During his halftime interview, Bielema sounded off on the officiating, saying his team had to “beat 110,000 and a few others.” A report coming out of halftime later revealed Bielema and Illinois were upset after some confusion resulted in them returning late to the field.

With Saturday’s brutal outing in the rearview mirror, Bielema will have to re-focus his team for next Saturday’s road meeting with Northwestern to end the season.

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