Questionable calls and ejections: Week 3
It finally felt like football in Week 3. At least in the SEC.
The first week didn’t feature a single SEC game, and last week, the marquee CBS game was Georgia at Vanderbilt. But on Saturday, the schedule treated us to four big-time conference games.
Alabama and Ole Miss engaged in the equivalent of a heavyweight bout in the nightcap, which finished just before 1:30 a.m. ET. The Crimson Tide and Rebels each produced some huge plays, some of which resulted in questionable, controversial or super-close calls.
Here’s the full rundown of some of Saturday’s most intriguing official decisions.
CHAD KELLY’S SIXTH SENSE
The Ole Miss quarterback had a terrific day against the Alabama defense, averaging nearly 20 yards per completion for the entire game.
The Crimson Tide, though, sliced the Rebels advantage from 30-10 to 30-24 early in the fourth quarter. Kelly responded with a 73-yard touchdown strike to Cody Core, but the officials ruled that Kelly had crossed the line of scrimmage before he let go of the football.
Upon further review, though, a portion of Kelly’s body remained behind the line of the scrimmage. He let go of the football an instant before his entire body crossed the line. The score, one of several huge momentum swings in the second half, was instrumental in the Ole Miss win.
This play appeared to be a run/pass option, which has become prominent in the college game.
Interesting enough, Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson threw a touchdown pass on a very similar play earlier in the day.
Speaking of Johnson, preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, completed 11 of 19 passes for a grand total of 100 yards against LSU.
After throwing his sixth interception of the season and getting generally embarrassed, Johnson had to endure this helmet-to-helmet hit from LSU linebacker Deion Jones.
Jones earned an ejection and a first-half suspension for next week’s game at Syracuse.
CLOSE AS CAN BE
Texas A&M receiver Ricky Seals-Jones nearly collected a nifty touchdown in the corner of the end zone against Nevada.
An official review led to the announcement that Seals-Jones did not have possession of the football when his heel hit the ground. The officials appeared to get this call right. But it’s another reminder about just how close some of these calls can be.
CLEAN HIT, NOT CALLED AS SUCH
If a quarterback engages himself as a downfield blocker, he’s supposed to be fair game for physical contact. That’s what appeared to happen in the Florida-Kentucky game with Will Grier with what equated to a hard nudge on a UK defender.
After that hard nudge, Khalid Henderson blocked Grier out of the play with slightly more than a hard nudge. He received a penalty flag for the contact, but probably shouldn’t have gotten called for an infraction.
CLEAN HIT, CALLED AS SUCH
South Carolina safety Isaiah Johnson leveled Georgia receiver Reggie Davis at a near-full sprint as Davis made a leaping attempt at a catch.
The officials initially ruled that Johnson targeted Davis, leading to an ejection. But a careful review showed that Johnson led with his shoulder into Davis’ body. I think the officials got the call right here — after a review.
INCIDENTAL TIP OR FORWARD SWAT?
ArDarius Stewart fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to an early 3-0 lead for Ole Miss. He tried his darndest to make up for that mistake, accounting for a receiving touchdown and then making this play on a fourth-quarter onside kick.
Keep in mind that “batting the ball forward” is illegal by rule and should lead to a re-kick. I’ll let you make the call on this crucial momentum-shifter:
SWAG KELLY’S STRENGTH
This call only appeared controversial at real speed, but we’re including it anyway because it shows off some tremendous strength and awareness on behalf of Chad Kelly.
First, Alabama defensive lineman D.J. Pettway is a large man. He clubbed Kelly from behind just as the quarterback drew back his arm. Not only did Kelly hold onto the football, but he managed to heave a sidearm throwaway to avoid a sack.