Referees missed an obvious horse collar tackle by Auburn to bring down Johnny Manziel in the final minute of the Tigers’ 45-41 upset win over Texas A&M on Saturday. The teams combined to score 31 points in the fourth quarter, with Auburn’s 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive standing up as the final score.
Manziel, who returned from a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the quarter, got the ball back at the 35 with 1:19 left. The Aggies got down to the Auburn 18 and were pushed back to the 26 after a sack. On third and 18, Manziel scrambled to his left for five yards and was brought down by a horse collar tackle from Kris Frost. Unfortunately, the referees did not call a penalty, which is supposed to be 15 yards and an automatic first down. A&M should have had a first down inside the 10 instead of 4th and 13 at the 21 and the game ending on a sack.
Here’s the exact language on the horse collar tackle rule from the NCAA rule book:
All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the ball carrier down. This does not apply to a ball carrier, including a potential passer, who is inside the tackle box (Rule 2-34). Note that the tackle box disintegrates when the ball leaves it.
Yup, that missed call made a huge difference in the outcome of the game. This is pretty indisputable: