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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)

 

N.C. State officials are promising increased security for football referees and visiting teams at Carter-Finley Stadium as university police seek the public's help to identify fans who threw objects and spit on officials after Clemson's 38-31 victory over the Wolfpack on Saturday.

Fans were angry after several close calls, and no-calls, didn't go in the Wolfpack's favor in its upset bid of the fourth-ranked Tigers. The scene turned ugly as the officials left the field, running through a tunnel to the locker room as trash rained down from above, despite the presence of N.C. Highway Patrol officers and event staff.

Fred Demarest, State's senior associate athletics director for communications and brand management, wrote in an email late Monday afternoon: "We have both police and event staff escort game officials at their every move on game days, which has worked very well historically. Moving forward, we will have an increased security presence in the stands near the tunnels used by officials and the visiting team to best protect both groups."

State has one home game remaining, on Nov. 25 against North Carolina.

Asked about Saturday's incident, university spokesman Mick Kulikowski said: "The investigation is ongoing and appropriate action will be taken as those involved are identified."

State athletics director Debbie Yow declined to comment, saying her department was working with the university on the incident. ACC officials and N.C. State police referred questions to State's public relations team.

Referee Riley Johnson's crew flagged the Wolfpack for six penalties for 69 yards, and the Tigers were penalized three times for 23 yards. State fans were particularly upset when an official blew his whistle after the snap on the play immediately after a questionable catch by Jakobi Meyers that resulted in a long gain.

Ultimately, the play was overturned and State was forced to punt.

In his postgame news conference, State coach Dave Doeren raised questions regarding a photo of a laptop on the Clemson sideline during the game. College teams are not allowed to have such technology on the sideline during games.

Asked about the laptop, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said it didn't belong to anyone involved with the team. A team spokesman, said it belonged to the athletics program's social media operation.

ACC spokesman Kevin Best said Sunday that the league was satisfied with Clemson's explanation.

Contact Brant Wilkerson-New at 336-373-7008.

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