Kiffin rips refs, says Texas Tech player spit on one of his players

Published 9:03 am Thursday, December 29, 2022

HOUSTON (AP) — Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin said a Texas Tech player spit on one of his players and possibly used a racial slur Wednesday night in the Texas Bowl.

A scrum between the teams came after Ole Miss’ Dayton Wade fumbled early in the fourth quarter and Texas Tech recovered. There was pushing and shoving between players, and Ole Miss players Jordan Watkins and Jayden Williams were both given personal foul penalties.

After the game, which Ole Miss lost 42-25, Kiffin said that the penalty should have actually been on Texas Tech’s Dimitri Moore, who is No. 11 for the Red Raiders, instead of Watkins, who wears No. 11 for Ole Miss.

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“They announce our 11, which is Jordan Watkins, who wasn’t in the fight, it was their 11 that was fighting 71 (Williams) and everybody knew because their own coaches were yelling at the guy,” Kiffin said.

“There was a racial slur involved, that’s not the point of what we’re talking about, (it’s) about the spitting part. I brought our own 71 up to the officials, right or wrong, you see him crying? He’s not crying not because he got spit on, it’s because something was said.”

When asked to clarify if a Texas Tech player used a racial slur toward one of his players, Kiffin said he wasn’t sure.

“I’m not going to, because I did not hear it, (I’m not going to) say that that happened for sure that he gave a racial slur to our player,” Kiffin said. “I was told that that was said in that (incident) but I did not hear that. So that would obviously be a giant issue.”

Moore and Williams are both Black.

Kiffin said he got so upset during the game because he didn’t believe it was fair that his player got a penalty that he thinks clearly should have been on someone else. Two plays after the incident, Kiffin called a timeout and spent the entire stoppage yelling at the officiating crew along the sideline.

Ole Miss had eight penalties for 86 yards in the game, while Texas Tech had three for 15 yards. In addition to the two personal fouls following the fight, the Rebels had two players ejected for targeting. An apparent pass interference penalty also was not called on a two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter, on a play that could have pulled Ole Miss to within one score.

“I’m going to defend our players when a kid spits on them and is accused to a national audience that it’s him,” Kiffin said. “So, Jordan has to deal with this.”

Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire was not asked about the incident, but Kiffin said he spoke with him about the spitting after the game.

“If you actually watch over there one of them’s kind of laughing because he got off,” Kiffin said. “He’s screaming at the player, they’re losing their mind on him… I talked to their head coach afterwards, he was like: ‘Crazy officiating out there.’ I go: ‘Yeah that was really bad on that one that your guy spit and our guy got the penalty.’ He was like: ‘Yeah I know.’”

On Thursday Moore responded to the accusations with a statement released through the school.

“I can’t state strongly enough that these accusations are false,” Moore said. “It is disappointing to have my final game as a collegiate student-athlete overshadowed by the false accusations that were stated last night.

“Since I have arrived at Texas Tech, I have strived to represent my teammates, this coaching staff and most importantly, my family, in the highest manner. It has been an honor to represent this program as we closed our season with a great team victory last night.”

McGuire expressed similar displeasure with Kiffin’s comments.

“We are disappointed an opposing head coach decided to insinuate serious allegations that are false and irresponsible,” McGuire said in a statement. “I have discussed these allegations with Dimitri Moore, and he disputed the two claims that were brought forth against him.”