Bret Bielema congratulates B1G division champs, takes shot at officiating in the process
Brett Bielema thinks things could have ended differently for Illinois this season if things had been “fair.”
The Illinois head coach tweeted congratulations to both Purdue and Michigan for clinching their respective B1G divisions. Bielema wrote that Illinois had played both teams and lost, but would like the opportunity to play both again on a “neutral” field with “neutral” officials.
Congrats to both teams and all they have accomplished. Saw both teams on the field and didn’t get it done. Would love the opportunity to meet both again on a neutral field and officials. Can’t happen this year but #famILLy we will be there sooner than later #ILL https://t.co/yJoC4H7NOh
— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) November 27, 2022
During their Week 11 matchup with Purdue, the Illini were penalized 12 times for 121 yards in the game, and 5 of those penalties were defensive pass interference. After the game, Bielema noted that Illinois as a team had 4 pass interference calls all year entering the game. The head coach pointed to the officiating as an issue, saying “We knew this crew would call things a certain way.”
It’s not the first time Bielema has blamed bad officiating for an Illini loss. In Week 12’s narrow loss to Michigan, Bielema once again pointed at the officials. One of the crucial calls late in the game was a pass interference flag on Devon Witherspoon that gave Michigan a first down and favorable field goal position.