'Extremely Pissed Off' Illinois Coach Bret Bielema Struggles To Hold Back Emotions Towards Big Ten Officials

After losing a hard fought game to Michigan on Saturday, Illinois head coach Bret Bielema was pretty heated at the officials for blown calls during the game. In his both his postgame press conference and halftime interview, Bielema took aim at some of the situations that potentially affected the outcome.

After leading late in the fourth quarter and playing extremely well, Michigan had to convert a fourth down attempt to continue its drive for the win. During the play in question, a Michigan receiver can be seen pushing a defender down the field, setting up the first-down completion.

This play seemingly cost Illinois the win, as the officials did not call a penalty on Michigan. The Wolverines would go on to kick a game-winning field goal, erasing any hopes of an Illinois upset.

"I am extremely pissed off, very angry, very upset," Bret Bielema said after the game. "I think our kids did a lot to win the football game and continually have things that just go against us. It's very frustrating and you have to stand up for the people you believe in. I believe in that locker room, big time, and know they'll rise up to the challenge once again."

This wasn't even the first time on Saturday that Bielema let his feelings be known. During his halftime interview with ESPN's Molly McGrath, the Illini head coach snidely said that his team needed "to beat 110,000 and a few others."

Not the first problem Bret Bielema has had with refs this season.

It's been a frustrating year for Bielema with regards to officiating. During their game against Michigan State, officials screwed up a 'below the waist' penalty in the first half, which ended up putting the Illini in horrible position for a subsequent field goal.

Bielema said officials apologized to him for the improper call.

"At the end of the half, we were right on the verge," Bielema said on his postgame radio show. "I got an apology from the officials for screwing that up. They basically allowed them to change the call there. They apologized so that won't happen again."

The very next week, against Purdue, Bielema had another run-in with the referees.

"We've had four calls on the season and today we had five," Bielema said after that game. "We've had these officials before -- we had them at Indiana -- so we schooled our guys up on this crew that we've seen before that they're going to call things a certain way."

On the particular call against Devon Witherspoon where Bielema can be seen very animated on the sideline, the head coach said after the game that call was "frustrating" and he "tried to get an answer but couldn't quite get it."

Illinois has lost three straight games since a 7-1 start to the season, and all three losses appear to have been heavily impacted by officiating.

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Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series. Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football "Credit Card Scandal" along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt. Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.