Rules expert weighs in on controversial Tennessee play
Tennessee was on the wrong end of a very controversial call during overtime of the Music City Bowl on Thursday, and one rules expert agrees that the Volunteers were robbed.
With the game tied 45-45, Tennessee went for it on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the first overtime period. Purdue defenders met Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright at the line of scrimmage, but he kept fighting and reached the ball across the goal line. However, the line judge determined that Wright’s forward progress was stopped before he broke the plane.
Many people disagreed with the ruling. Former NFL official Terry McAulay, a rules analyst for NBC, said the whistle came too early. He did, however, point out that Tennessee committed a penalty (one that is hardly ever called) when a teammate tried to help pull Wright across the goal line.
Video. I do believe the whistle was too quick here. His progress was not clearly stopped at the time it was ruled as such. HOWEVER…Whether it's ever called or not, this is a foul for helping the runner. https://t.co/qouoHNGfE0 pic.twitter.com/jVdxSMSiQ7
— Terry McAulay (@SNFRules) December 31, 2021
You can see another angle of the run here.
The play was reviewed, but forward progress is a judgment call. Once that call was made on the field, there was no way to overturn it. The question is whether Wright’s forward was actually stopped or stopped long enough to warrant a whistle.
Purdue kicked a field goal to win the game 48-45 after getting the stop. Tennessee fans were irate with the finish. You can understand why.