• Dennis McCaslin

Call stands, but crooked referees get to set out a week for protecting Malzahn and Tigers

The Southeastern Conference officiating crew responsible for a controversial call that proved decisive at the end of the Arkansas loss against Auburn on October 10 did not officiate any games Saturday, October. 17. 

Members of the officiating crew during the Auburn vs. Arkansas game were referee Jason Autrey, umpire Walt Hill, linesman Chad Green, line judge Chuck Rice, back judge J. Middlebrooks, field judge M Williams, side judge Martin Hankins, and center judge Mike Block.  

In the Auburn vs. Arkansas football game on Oct. 10, Arkansas led 28-27 with 30 seconds remaining. Auburn quarterback Bo Nix dropped the snap and then turned around to spike the ball to stop the clock. It was called intentional grounding.

The play was reviewed as a possible fumble, but the intentional grounding call stood. As a result of the penalty, 10 seconds were run off the clock. 

That left 18 seconds remaining, and Auburn kicker Anders Carlson drilled a 39-yard field goal for a 30-28 Auburn lead. That ended up being the final score. 

On Oct. 10, the SEC put out a statement about the play.

"During the 3rd down play at 0:30 in the 4th quarter, the officials on the field sounded their whistles and blew the play dead as they deemed the passer illegally grounded the ball to conserve time as governed by Rule 7-3-2-f. 

"During the subsequent replay review, there is conclusive video evidence that the pass was backwards. However, because recovery of the football was not clearly made in the immediate continuing football action, the ruling on the field was determined to stand under Rule 12-3-2-e-1. Both the determination of a backward pass and the immediate clear recover are required to reverse the ruling on the field under Rule 12-3-2-e-1." 

Two SEC football games were postponed this week due to COVID-19 outbreaks, and that left only five games on the SEC football schedule for Oct. 17. The postponed games were LSU at Florida and Vanderbilt at Missouri. 


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