SEC Referee Makes Mistake


On Monday, the SEC issued a statement admitting referee Penn Wagers made a mistake at the end of the Arkansas Razorbacks loss to Alabama. With 1:01 remaining on the clock, Tide offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio was called for a false start which should have stopped the clock until the next snap. However, officials wrongly continued to run the game clock as Arkansas promptly stopped Bama on 3rd down. The Tide didn’t even have to snap the ball again as the time expired.

In utter confusion, Bret Bielema called out to refs asking for an explanation. As referee’s always do, they quickly ran off the field to avoid controversy. It wasn’t until Monday that the SEC made the statement, but Wagers has not been reprimanded for the mistake yet.

Oct 11, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema (C) reacts to a play during the second half of a game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama defeated Arkansas 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Why was this mistake so colossal?

After TJ Yeldon carried the ball on 3rd down, the clock read under 30 seconds which meant Bama wouldn’t have to run another play. What should the clock have read? The play looked to have taken roughly 6 seconds which would have left 55 seconds on the clock and Bama would’ve punted with approximately 20 seconds to play.

I’m sure every Alabama will argue that Arkansas wouldn’t be able to move the ball in that amount of time and the field position would have been too much to overcome. Most fans probably still assume the call was correct and the SEC never makes mistakes.

Let me point out some key reasons this game wasn’t over:  With 20 seconds remaining, Alabama could have gone for it on 4th down and 1 at approximately the Arkansas 42 yard line. It’s possible the Hogs could have made the stop and allowed themselves two plays from almost midfield.

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Secondly, if Alabama punted, there’s no guarantee they cleanly handle the snap and get the punt away. After all, the Tide’s special teams had been atrocious this year.

Thirdly, what about the conditions of the field? There had been several turnovers in the game to this point and the conditions were noticeably sloppy.

Lastly, with the high percentage of Hail Mary passes being completed and the list of trick plays these days, why couldn’t something wild happen a week after Upset Saturday? The answer is: anything could happen; just ask USC!