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Referees missed horse collar tackle on Johnny Manziel at end of game

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:

Johnny Manziel horse collar

GIF via GIFD Sports; image via MockSession


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  • Peachy

    Boo. Hoo. He still would have had to score.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    Even as an Awbarn-hating Alabama fan, this is laughable. The gif you posted even proves it wasn’t a horse collar. A horse collar is reaching inside the neck of the jersey or shoulder pads, and right at the end of the gif you can plainly see the Auburn player’s fingers on the back of the jersey and not inside the collar, which is not a penalty.

  • Scott Wheat

    I’d like to be the first to shove a horse collar up JFF asshole for 24 hours straight. We coming again next year JMFF, lol.

  • SherylSimpson

    i predict Johnny Scramble pulls a Clowney and misses the rest of the season with his shoulder “injury” so he doesn’t harm his draft stock.

    oh and what the hell happened to the idea of playing defense in the SEC? it’s a good thing y’all poached some teams from the Big XII or all you would be is Bama…and they don’t even play D anymore either.

  • NavyDad77

    I don’t see the horse collar.
    IF… Frost’s right had had not come around and pulled him down AND the left hand on his back would not have let go then THAT would have been a horsecollar.
    IF… I was an A&M fan I would be a little ticked as well. I was at the game up high in the endzone section 519. I saw the pursuit real time and I saw him go down. I don’t think it was obvious enough to review and I don’t think that is reviewable.
    In slow motion and GIF’s it looks a bit like a horsecollar though. There were some potential holding calls on the other side of the ball that seemed to be missed as well that resulted in TAMU TD’s. It seems like the ref’s let them play the game and let things slide on both sides.

  • Wombat

    As a fan of clean, fair football, this is clearly a horse collar, read the rule as stated above which is verbatim from the rule book. I know as an Alabama fan you believe if Saben didn’t say it then it’s not true, but use your brain. The Auburn player is clearly grabbing the inside of Johnny’s jersey/shoulder pads to bring him down. Place all hate you have for the talented player Johnny is and look at this from an unbiased view. Or even imagine if this happened to your own player, you would be just as upset especially since it took away a chance for the Aggies to score.

  • Auburn News

    per Roger Redding…”If the ball carrier is grabbed by the shoulder or jersey and just ridden to the ground over a couple of yards, that’s not going to be a foul.”

  • Jim Smith

    The Ags are happy to be in the conference. We are getting homered by the old school SEC refs. What state is home to the conference office again? It would be nice to be treated as real conference members. BTW, there were also two targeting penalties on Malcomb Kennedy that were not called.

  • bhamgman

    And Evans NEVER pushes off.

  • bhamgman

    Manziel should not have been run down by a middle linebacker, and defense should not have given up 21 in the fourth.

  • Gary Schneider

    Definitely a penalty should have been called. Looks political. What else is new.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    The rule says “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”

    His fingers are clearly OUTSIDE the collar of the jersey, and the pulled-down jersey show he is also OUTSIDE the collar of the shoulder pads. You can see a maroon strip between the white gloves of the defender and the white collar of Manziel’s jersey, so he was OUTSIDE the collar, which isn’t a penalty.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    Furthermore, as a pre-stated “AwBarn hating Alabama fan”, if I was being biased I would’ve just said he did it because I hate Auburn, so your logic is frankly lacking.