Down 52-45 in overtime, facing a fourth-and-25, Brandon Allen completed a pass to tight end Hunter Henry.

As an Ole Miss defender dragged Henry to the ground well short of the first-down yardage — and very near the line of scrimmage — Henry flung the ball behind him blindly.

RELATED: Watch Arkansas RB convert incredible play in OT

A fortuitous bounce saw the football land in the hands of Alex Collins, three times a 1,000-yard rusher in the SEC. Collins weaved through traffic, following a convoy down the left sideline for an Arkansas first down. The Razorbacks eventually won the game, 53-52, by completing a two-point conversion.

The result had strong implications on the SEC West title race, removing Ole Miss from the proverbial “driver’s seat” and putting control into the hands of Alabama, which beat LSU later in the night.

But was that play legal?

Almost immediately, rules experts and “rules experts” alike took to Twitter to provide explanations. Of course, those explanations fell into two camps: the play was legal and the play was illegal. Let’s run through both lines of reasoning.


Allow me to introduce you to Dave Cutaia, ESPN’s rules expert for college football, a.k.a. pro-conversion.

According to Cutaia, the fourth-and-25 backward pass and Alex Collins rumble was well within the rules.

IT WAS ILLEGAL took to Twitter just before midnight, adamantly declaring that the play was illegal. Unlike many of the rule “experts,” FootballScoop actually bothered to check the NCAA Rule Book — a novel concept.

But, without the right interpretation, the rule book is useless. Much like legislation without lawyers and precedence.

It’s easy to get lost here, but words like “lateral,” “backward pass” and “fumble vs. interception” come into play.


Alas, the two sides eventually merged into one discussion. And from that, we arrived at a conclusion … we think. The play was legal. (Or is that “legal,” followed by a succession of question marks???)