Refs Admit Screwup on Excessive Celebration Call that Hurt Georgia

The Georgia/LSU game on Saturday featured one of the stranger endings of the season. After struggling to score for three quarters, Georgia scored a TD at the beginning of the 4th to make it 7-6. The teams played 57 minutes with only 13 combined points scored, and then they traded touchdowns three times in the final three minutes for a 20-13 LSU win. Georgia actually responded to an LSU touchdown run from Charles Scott with 2:58 left in the game with a touchdown of their own. Georgia scored on a pass from Joe Cox to A.J. Green to make it 13-12 with 1:09 left. At that point Georgia felt pretty good about things but then a spiral of negative events took place. First, they were penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration, forcing them to kick off from the 15. Then they gave up a 40 yard return on the kickoff and two plays later, Charles Scott ran in another TD — the game-winner. Not that we’re going to blame this one on the refs, but the excessive celebration penalty didn’t help them. Here’s the video of the play from Dr. Saturday, and after the video you can read what the SEC officials supervisor is saying.

The SEC has admitted it was the wrong call:

Rogers Redding, the SEC supervisor of officials, said Monday that after reviewing video of the play, “I’ve concluded that it was one that we probably should have let go. We tell our guys not to go looking for this stuff but if it’s right in your face, you have to call it,” Redding said. “He [the SEC official] is beating himself up pretty bad over this one. The video doesn’t support what the official called. He was celebrating with his teammates, which is fine. The officials were trying to herd them up and get them to the sideline, and what the official reacted to was the player coming out from that group of teammates and making what appeared to be a gesture to the crowd.”

This reminds me a lot of the BYU/Washington celebration call that cost U-Dub the win and started what wound up being an 0-12 season. We must mention again that the referee who made the bad call didn’t give up the long touchdown to Scott, but 15 yards is huge especially when a field goal wins it. Too bad Georgia was hurt by this one because that loss hurts.

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  • dave

    What you say is true and I believe it was not the best of calls. However, they made up for it when LSU scored. You don’t mention that. You can’t undo the possible results of a bad call, like the kickoff from the 15, but the Georgia special teams could have stopped the long kickoff return, so the indirect result was obviously a help to LSU. Also the game wasn’t over. Georgia had time to regroup.

    We have the same sort of situation with LSU Alabama, only there was no “make up” call against Alabama and LSU did have a chance to come back as did Georgia, but failed to do so. Clearly Alabama was a better team that night and the result may have been the same if the interception stood, but we will never know. What is clear however is that humans are not perfect and in such cases there should be a very scrutinizing review by the NCAA. The business of college football and the peripheral institutions (TV, Las Vegas) have a lot to gain by having the “right” teams in the big TV/Gambling games. Alabama/Fla. for SEC championship is a far bigger draw than LSU/Fla. who already played this year. No. 3 Versus No. 1 is a bigger game from all points of view than a No. 9/8/? ranked LSU versus No.1 Fla. if LSU had won. Do not discount the influence of big business/money in SEC or any other NCAA conference with the huge TV and gambling spinoffs. Wake up and smell the crispy dollar bills. Next year it may work in favor of LSU. Either way, I don’t like it. Let the players and coaches decide the outcome of the game with unbiased officiating. I got tired of watching the NBA because of similar stuff and to some extent the NFL. I guess the next thing you will see will be Southern Cal claiming the National Title with teh help of some biased pollsters.