BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - College football fans around the country took to Twitter after Texas A&M’s historic 7 OT win over LSU Saturday night. Most of them questioning a couple of “blown calls” by the SEC’s officiating team late in the 4th quarter and into the first period of overtime.
The plays in question were: a first down that appeared to be a yard short, an “illegal formation” that was not called, an incomplete pass that many thought should’ve been ruled a fumble, a “missed” pass interference call, and the second-to-last play before the game clock expired during regulation where the Aggies spiked the ball to stop the clock, after which they would complete a 19-yard pass to tie things up at 31 and send it into overtime.
Tuscaloosa’s Tide 102.9 radio host and heisman voter Ryan Fowler said he was “embarassed” for the SEC officials.
LSU LB Patrick Queen said he felt “cheated."
Tim Brando, national commentator for Fox Sports says he believes LSU had the game “ripped from them” three times, but since it doesn’t involve any of the playoff-bound teams, “no one cares!”
NFL draft analyst Dane Brugler broke down the first down call. In essence, the line on TV was wrong. So, as it turned out, the officials got that call right.
Veteran NFL referee Terry McAulay addressed three issues sports fans had with how the officials decided to call the game.
A&M spiked the ball on this play with what appeared less than three seconds, and officials added one second back on the clock.
In a 2013 rule change, the NCAA established that 3 seconds is "the minimum amount of time required to be on the game clock in order to spike the ball to stop the clock."
But in an NCAA memo from September 2017, the rule is updated as follows:
“If the clock is stopped with three or more seconds remaining in a quarter, and the clock will start on the Referee’s signal, the Offense may spike the ball and if executed properly could have time remaining for another play. If the clock is stopped with 2 or 1 seconds in a quarter and will start on the Referee’s signal, there is only enough time for one more play.”
LSU’s head coach Ed Orgeron said that second should’ve never been added back to the clock and after that call, momentum swung in the Aggies' favor.
“Even if this was illegal, then it would be a live ball foul, five yard penalty, and there would be no runoff. The offense would still get another play,” McAulay wrote.
In his twitter thread, McAulay addresses a pivotal pass called incomplete that has sparked heated debate over whether or not it was actually a fumble, which would’ve lost the game for the Aggies and secured the Tigers' 10-win season they were shooting for.
WAFB’s Jacques Doucet says the play was a fumble.
LSU’s top CB, Greedy Williams, scooped up the loose ball and sprinted into wide open field in what would’ve been the last play of the game in overtime. The pass, ruled incomplete on the field, was never reviewed. McAulay says the play was big enough to garner a formal review.
Here’s the play in question:
And tied at 72 a piece in the 7th OT, Williams was flagged for pass interference on Texas A&M’s two-point conversion attempt to win the game. Williams contested the call with the referee and was then penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
McAulay analyzed the play and said pass interference shouldn’t have been called. A&M replayed the conversion from the 1-yard line and Mond completed a game-winning pass to Kendrick Rogers.
WAFB’s Steve Caparotta says the silence from the SEC, the lack of a statement or a double down on any of these calls in question is “deafening," especially after their swift response to the equally-as-debated targeting call against LSU’s Devin White just weeks ago.
“57 minutes after the game, Ross had a statement from SEC doubling down on White targeting call,” Caparotta said in a tweet. “12+ hours after an abomination in College Station last night & the silence is deafening.”
Tim Brando says the SEC will have another busy Monday morning in Birmingham.
Regardless, nothing will change the outcome of the highest-scoring NCAA FBS game in history.