Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SEC REFS VS. BIG EAST REFS/ SEC THROWS THE FLAG WHILE BIG EAST PICKS IT UP

Last night’s LSU vs. Georgia game didn’t have a whole of action until the fourth quarter.

After the first half it was just two LSU field goals being the only scores of the game.
In the third, neither team could put any points on the scoreboard.

At the start of the 4th quarter, Joe Cox led his Bulldogs (3-2) on an 18 play 60-yard drive to finally put Georgia on the board. The drive lasted 7:52 and after the extra point, Georgia had the lead 7-6.

Following Georgia’s score, both LSU and Georgia had two three-and-out offensive series before another score.

This time it was LSU’s turn. LSU running back Charles Scott capped off a 13 play 88-yard drive with a touchdown run from the 2-yard line. After failing on the two-point conversion LSU took back the lead at 12-7 with only 2:53 left in the game.

Georgia’s young quarterback Cox, who has been growing up quickly thus far this season, now had to lead his team in the two-minute offense if Georgia wanted to protect their home field.
He got off on the right start by completing a 13-yard pass to running Caleb King on the first play. Following an incomplete pass on the next play and a four yard rush by King, Cox hooked up with Georgia’s other King, Tavarres King, with a 46 yard completion. Georgia was now LSU’s 16-yard line and in striking distance to regain the lead. Just two plays later that is exactly what Cox and the Bulldogs did.

With the LSU (5-0) rush coming after him, Cox looked to the right side of the end-zone where his No. 1 target A.J. Green had single coverage. Cox threw the jump ball and Green leaped up into the air, outstretched his hands over the LSU defender, and came down with the go ahead touchdown pass.

But, what happened after the touchdown was the real story.

The referees flagged the Bulldogs for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty for excessive celebration. But, where was the excessive celebration?

Green’s teammates did give him some shoves after he caught the ball. But, no one did a dance or made a disrespectful gesture towards the crowd. The Georgia bench did not run out onto the field. So, where, where was this excessive celebration?

In any event, the penalty was called and it would have a major impact on the rest of the game. Now, the Bulldogs had to kickoff from 15 yards further, giving LSU a chance to be in great field position.

After LSU’s Trindon Holliday returned the kickoff for 68 yards, they were already at the Georgia 38 yard line. Just two plays later, it was Scott from 33 yards out with the go ahead and game-winning touchdown run.

Not to take anything from LSU because it was a good game, you could not help but wonder how different their final drive would have been if the refs had not called Georgia for penalty which gave LSU their favorable position to start the drive.

Now, switching from this game, we go to the Washington vs. Notre Dame game. This was a much different game than LSU vs. Georgia one. At the start of the fourth, Washington had a 24-19 over the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium.

Fast-forwarding to the fourth quarter, Notre Dame, trailing 27-22, had 2:52 left in the game to make their comeback.

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen was as cool as the other side of the pillow. He completed all four of his passes, including the go ahead 12-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph.

Rudolph and his teammates were ecstatic after the catch. In fact, Rudolph jumped into the arms of his teammates twice and was carried around for a few seconds; a real celebration compared to the Bulldogs mild shoving of Green after his go ahead catch.

In fact, the Big East refs did throw a flag and it seemed like the penalty for excessive celebration was about it to called. However, when the ref went to make the announcement to the stadium, he did not announce a penalty for excessive celebration. Instead, he told the stadium that flag had been picked up and that there was no penalty.

While this score did not prove to be the game-winning score, Notre Dame ended up beating Washington in overtime, it still made me furious how the SEC refs had affected the outcome of what ended up being an exciting game between Georgia and LSU.

How could the NCAA have refs that can’t even agree on what excessive celebration is?

Georgia could be 4-1 and the Tigers could have been the latest top 5 team to fall.

Maybe the SEC refs wanted the Tigers to remain unbeaten for their game against No. 1 Florida next week. Who knows, but I always dislike it when referees ruin a great game.