Week 13 questionable calls: Onside kick fiasco costs Tennessee
Every week in the SEC, we see a good number of questionable, controversial, or difficult calls.
The ones that fans and players remember happen in the fourth quarter with the outcome still in doubt. That’s the case again this week, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now from a few Tennessee Vols fans.
The officials have a difficult job and in my opinion they do it well, for the most part. They get most of the calls correct in real time. But a calls few always stick out.
A MESSY DOUBLE KICKOFF
Down 29-21 late in the fourth quarter, Tennessee recovered an onside kick to take possession. Only the officials called a phantom offsides penalty on the Vols, and also called illegal touching on the Vols.
Upon review, the officials realized the ball careened off the thigh pad of Missouri WR Jimmie Hunt, voiding the illegal touching penalty. But the officials could not reverse the offsides call, forcing Tennessee to move back five yards and re-try the kick.
The Vols again recovered the onside kick, but the ball traveled nine, maybe nine-and-a-half yards before the Vols touched it, giving Missouri possession.
Here are screenshots taken at the moment of impact on the first onside kick taken from three different camera angles. Keep in mind the kicker is allowed to place his plant foot beyond the line of scrimmage. Clearly Tennessee wasn’t offsides.
Here’s the video of the entire confusing sequence.
NO FUMBLE RECOVERY FOR YOU
Alabama recovered a Western Carolina fumble on the third play of the game.
But an inadvertent whistle an instant before the Tide recovered helped the Catamounts retain possession.
It’s pretty clear the whistle blows while the ball is on the ground, but it’s also clear that Alabama was going to recover the ball. Western Carolina regained composure and completed a 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead.
A TOUCHDOWN THAT WASN’T
The officials must agree with Western Carolina coach Mark Speir, who slammed Kirk Herbstreit for anti-FCS comments. That’s tongue-in-cheek, in case it isn’t obvious, but how else do you explain two poor calls that allowed the Catamounts to get within 17-14 in the second quarter?
Spearman Robinson caught a 12-yard touchdown pass, but pinned the ball to his hip as he crossed the goal line, then lost it on the ground as he rolled, failing to complete the catch. Ruled a touchdown on the field, the play never got reviewed.
PASS INTERFERENCE … ON THE OFFENSE?
As we see every week, pass interference is one of the most difficult calls in football. In this case, Missouri WR Jimmie Hunt and Tennessee DB Justin Coleman were hand-fighting while the ball was in the air. But the defender didn’t appear to find the ball. It was a bit of a bailout call for the Tennessee defense.
DAN MULLEN GOES BALLISTIC
Speaking of pass interference, I’m not really sure what Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen saw on this play. It looked like pass interference to me. Yes, the receiver got physical with the defensive back, but it appeared that the corner initiated the contact and also got in a last good shove.
Either way, Mullen’s reaction was pretty entertaining.