Lost in the Penn Wagers Triangle.

I wondered about Washaun Ealey’s reaction on this play.

photo via Richard Hamm/Athens Banner-Herald

And this explanation is consistent with what I saw from him.

“When he hit me, I was a little unconscious, but I knew where the ball was,” Ealey said. “The referees blew the play dead before I could react to the fumble and the other team jumped on it, I guess, after the whistle was blown.”

I’m curious to know whether in fact a whistle did blow.  The officials on the field seemed to react initially as if one had, but were overruled by the replay official.  On the other hand, I didn’t see much of a protest from the Georgia sideline when the call was changed.

Think they’re checking with the SEC office on this one?  About all that’s lacking from this season’s great start is an opportunity to be Reddinged.


Filed under Georgia Football

88 responses to “Lost in the Penn Wagers Triangle.

  1. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Revenge for the Celebration will always trump making the right call in the eyes of SEC officials.


  2. TennesseeDawg

    If Ealey was unconscious then he was in good company the way the rest of the team played.


  3. Irishdawg

    Wager’s crew did a typically wretched job of officiating. The offsides call that negated UGA’s interception of MSU at the start of the second half was utter bullshit.


  4. Dawg N Suds

    Regardless, an aggressive mindset alone says “Jump on the football!”.

    Seven points were at there for the taking.

    Mississippi State (and every other team) knows this.

    It is no surprise why Georgia has recovered so few fumbles over the past several seasons.


    • Easy for you to say. You’re not the guy standing there without a helmet on.


      • Dawg N Suds

        I enjoy your blog, but winning teams do not make the kinds of excuses now coming from our players.

        It gets fixed in practice.

        Our team should know all plays are reviewed and the whistle is not often heard in the replay box.

        It is important to note that no other Georgia player went for the ball, either.


        • It is important to note that no other Georgia player went for the ball, either.

          I’ll have to go back and check the replay, but I’m curious how you know this. As I recall, this was a quick hit to Ealey out of the backfield without any downfield blocking in front of him. All I remember seeing as the play ended was Ealey and the defenders who made the hit.

          I didn’t see anyone else close enough to attempt to recover the ball, but, you’re right, if no one was running towards the play, that’s not how they’re supposed to be coached.


          • NCT

            The last time I watched that play (which was during Richt’s Sunday night show), it looked to me like Ealey may have been a little dazed but did, in fact, look for the ball. It happened pretty fast. He was getting up and looking at the ground, just in the wrong direction, while the MSU player, dove into the end zone. On the other hand, just may have just been checking to see where he landed and whether it was a TD, the whistle having blown the play dead and all that.


        • Hackerdog

          Tell you what, DNS, I’ll hit you in the head with a 2×4 and then throw a ball on the ground somewhere near you. You then have 2 seconds to get your bearings, find the ball, and jump on it. If you can’t do it, no excuses.

          On the other hand, what Ealey did do wrong, IMO, was that before the hit, he was not holding the ball tightly to his body. It looked like he may have been changing hands with the ball. For a guy that has had a bad fumble at the goal line before, that part is on him.


          • Kevin

            I would agree with you if Ealey didn’t make the comments he made. He said he knew where it was and only didn’t go after it bc he assumed the play was dead.

            If it were a matter of being dazed or not knowing where the ball was then sure, totally forgivable and lets find a way to blame the refs..

            but that’s not the case, he admits to giving up on it bc he assumed the play was dead.


      • Dave

        For once I disagree with you Senator. There was no one around for three seconds and the whistle didn’t prevent Mississippi St. from jumping on it…..goes back to mindset. We always say “protect the ball”, yet we leave it open for bad interpretation by officials, which is always a losing mentality. If Ealey picks the ball up, we have 7. Instead he just looks at the ball on the ground, and says, “Oh play’s over” instead of “Hey, I’m supposed to protect the ball.”


        • Reptillicide

          The rule in college football is that once a player’s helmet comes off, the play is dead.


        • Boz

          Watching the replay on TV, it appeared to me that the kid had his bell rung, and didn’t know what planet he was on. He didn’t react, because he couldn’t. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what it looked like to the group of guys watching the HD broadcast with me.


          • Ben

            That’s what it looked like to me, too. And, frankly, that’s a bit forgivable in my mind. He got popped, and if he was even momentarily unconscious that’s enough to make that ball pop out, and he’s not at fault for fumbling it. That kind of thing happens.

            The thing that sucks, though, is that it seems to happen to Ealey more than others.


    • Kevin

      I heard a whistle, but also wondered why Ealey didn’t pounce on the ball.

      It’s indicative of the team’s approach to the whole season. Another team and another player (helmet or not) would have jumped on it even if the play was dead.

      It’s almost like he was glad the play was over so he didn’t have to do anything anymore.

      I’ve seen RBs and DBs lose helmets and still run full speed ahead and lower their shoulder… That’s absolutely not an excuse


      • The one and only Billy Shears

        He was hit really, really hard and he was in a daze.


        I’m concerned; really concerned about the problems that have manifested themselves in the last few weeks. There is a lot of criticism that could/should be poured on many people around the program right now, including the running backs.

        But not on this particular play. Ealey got his bell rung badly. It doesn’t seem that he was coherent right then. You can make broad, sweeping generalizations about The Team’s Approach or The Coaches’ Failings, and that’s fine, but dude.


        Lay off him if for only that one time.


      • hccargo

        There is a significant difference between getting your helmet pushed/twisted off and continuing to play and getting it blown off when you get wrecked by two defenders at the same time. Watching the play live it was obvious that Ealey was out of it for a second or two. You can fault him for fumbling even on a big hit. You can argue discrepancies about when/if whistles were blown. But I really don’t think you can be too critical of him for not jumping on the ball. I was shocked he didn’t have a concussion. Anyone who is critical of his immediate response has obviously never taken a hit that left you momentarily dazed. That’s not “in the arena” talk; that’s just simple fact.


  5. ed

    What is the call on a fumble that is blown dead but then a team jumps on it? How can the replay official give it to that team if the play was in fact blown dead?


    • Joe

      I thought it was dead from the whistle when I saw/heard it and that replay wouldn’t matter. That is why they are now allowing them to scramble for loose balls (without blowing a play dead prematurely) and then letting replay sort it out, but I was sure they had actually blown that one dead and thus there was no way to know who would have recovered it.

      On so many of those plays (not this one of course) I HATE when players don’t hold the ball and hand it to the ref. Instead the moment they hit the ground they are flinging it up or down on the ground and as we know (Jasper) it ends up costing you eventually.


    • Adam

      I think if it’s blown dead, it’s dead (meaning here, UGA’s ball on the 1). My question is why, regardless of whether the whistle was in fact blown, the ball wasn’t declared dead on replay from the time Ealey’s helmet came off.

      Art. 3(q), pg. FR-79. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/FR09.pdf


      • Puffdawg

        Interesting. So, by rule, the ball should’ve been blown dead the minute his helmet came off and we should’ve gotten the ball on the one. Right?


      • J

        We need to see a good replay. If he lost possesion before his helmet was knocked off, you could say he’s not the ball carrier anymore. If his helmet was knocked off before he lost possesion, then it should be dead right there.


  6. Griff

    It was a total blown call! Yes, Ealey should’ve jumped on it, but I think we all believe he was dazed for a couple of seconds. But a couple of things I wonder about…1. His helmet was off, shouldn’t that have been reason enough to blow the whistle? And 2. There is credibility to Ealey saying he heard the whistle because 2 of the officials were running in pointing at the 1 yard line saying he was down.
    I know there are different rules if they are uncertain about a call, like if the refs aren’t sure about a fumble they are to let the play continue and let the review sort it out, but this did NOT happen on this call. Unfortunately, Richt and staff should have been all over that and argued their case that the whistle had blown and there was a defenseless player on the field.
    Not making excuses, just stating my opinion of the play…


    • devildawg

      It’s also worth remembering that this is the play immediately after the Umpire had left the field to have his wound treated. I can’t hear the whistle on the broadcast, but that could partly be the fault of the really crappy recording available on espn3 (thanks fox!), or it really may not have been blown.

      It’s hard to say Ealey should have jumped on the ball when he clearly just had his bell rung and his helmet was off. It seems to me like the play should have been dead right there. Shoot, I’ve seen lesser hits flagged for helmet to helmet, just this weekend.


  7. Russ

    Well, not that it matter, but on that very first “pass interference” that was originally in our favor, I knew they would pick up the flag when I saw Penn Wagers. The ball was uncatchable, I agree. However, if had been Georgia on defense, they would have just switched the call to defensive holding. Of course, since we were on offense, it made sense for Wagers to wave it off.

    Agree too on Ealey. He had his bell rung, and they were blowing it dead. However, we’ve got to hang onto the ball. There were several times where we dropped the ball upon hitting the ground. That’s got to stop. I’d like to see Richt bench the next one that does it for a quarter (or more).


  8. Richt-Flair

    Don’t know if this has been brought up — but the hit looked awfully close to helmet to helmet.


  9. Bryan Carver Dawg97

    Love the blog Senator, but thanks for throwing salt into the wound 😉 Even more infuriating now if the whistle had blown and for all intents and purposes it should’ve been our ball. Perhaps a whole different ball game with even 3 points.

    I will point out though, that right before Ealey is hit from the left, he tries to switch the ball from his left to right hand. And it is at this moment that he’s hit, knocking the ball loose. Also infuriating because that’s what caused him to lose it at SCarolina too. That’s a habit that has to be broken.


  10. TomReagan

    They changed the rule about whistles and fumbles last year. Now, if there is an early whistle, but the ball is covered at the spot of the fumble, then the recovering team keeps the ball despite the whistle.


  11. tga

    I thought the play was dead as well, but my real question is about the play call. Would that not have been better for a tight end? Ealey is a small guy taking a hit in the open like that when he does have a habit of dropping the ball. Why not have that play drawn up for Aaron White who is big enough to take that hit?


    • DWH

      UGA has TE’s?


    • Sanford222View

      Ealey plays a position who’s purpose is to carry the ball. Why is that play any different than if he had broken a run up the middle into the secondary? I find it hard to find any fault with the play call. Ealey gets hit by much bigger players all game long on the defensive line and by line backers.

      I am not going to blame the loss on this play but the refs blew that call. The rule book clearly states a play is dead as soon as a players helmet comes completely off. That should have been blown dead and I tend to believe Ealey that there was a whistle doing so. Why it was ignored I have no clue.


    • Xon

      All natural frustrations with our offense aside, it is pretty odd to criticize a play call that produced a 20 yard gain and put us 1st and goal at the 1 (by rights).

      We can’t just reach for any stick to beat Bobo with b/c any stick will do. “Well, that play may have gone for twenty yards, but I question WHO you had running the route…” ? Maybe we threw it to our RB instead of our TE because we suspected that would WORK, which it did.


  12. Will Trane

    Thought the staff and coaches did a post review of all calls during the game. If they do not, why. A review, if made, would go through the AD’s office to the SEC officials. CMR is guarded about any kind of public comment on SEC officiating crews. The current AD will take a stronger approach about poor calls and overall officiating.

    A weakness in the SEC is the performance and ability of their crews the past few years.

    Houston is always quick off the ball. Hopefully CMR calls that to the attention of the officials. Officials set to the outside and looking down the line will see outside movement before they see the center move the ball. Need to see how the players line up and their heads. Houston is probably not offsides as much as it appears.

    Look at the replay, look at the film, and watch the TV edition. I heard those words used by CMR and coaches. Puzzled. Most HSs do not use film for review or preparation. Software packages are there for study, review, and preparation. But when CMR and Bobo says “look at the film” , I think they are stuck in the past with basic tech.

    We have wondered what software packages they use. Do you know Senator?


  13. Kevin

    Everyone is making a good point about this and that rule and what should have happened.

    But lets think about one thing here. Ealey goes down and loses the ball. Maybe he’s down, maybe his helmet is off and Ealey is well versed in Art. 3(q), pg. FR-79 of the NCAA rulings, maybe there’s a whistle.

    Ealey still knows he lost the ball. He knows he was falling and his body hadn’t hit the ground, or if it had, it was so close that he should recover the ball as to clear up any misconceptions of a fumble. Ealey looked dazed but his comments clearly show that he knew where the ball was. The blame falls on Ealey, not the officials. He did not ‘Finish the Drill’ as we say. What’s the harm in reaching out one yard to scoop the ball up just to say “hey, no wait, i got it anyway.. so yeah im either down or it’s a TD but no worries cuz I still have it right here ref”

    This is a metaphor for the entire team the past few years. We don’t go the extra mile (yard, whatever) and it always costs us. Lazyness


    • Sanford222View

      Just because he looked at the ball doesn’t mean he was clear headed enough to go for the ball. It isn’t difficult to be stunned for a brief moment when being hit during a football game. That isn’t being lazy.


    • PNWDawg

      Did your mama slap you around when you didn’t finish your veggies?


  14. PatinDC

    I htought that Ealey was down and the whistle was blown. I also thought Ealey got clocked and was in another place. I saw The MSU players just pick up the ball in the EZ and look like maybe they would get away with something. Just another bad call that didn’t go UGA’s way.


  15. D.N. Nation

    I think we all realize that, had Ealey dived on the ball and brushed against an MSU player, he would have been called for a dead-ball personal foul and probably would have been ejected from the game. Also, Florida would have been awarded a first down on the play in their game, somehow.

    What conference are we in, again, people?


  16. JudgeDawg

    NCAA football rule Rule 4, Section 1, Article 3.q. dictates that the ball became dead as soon as the player’s helmet was completely removed. The Rule states, “A live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound his whistle or declare it dead . . . [w]hen a ball carrier’s helmet comes completely off.”


    • Then the replay official screwed up. It’s Redding Time!


      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Excuse me but that is exactly what I was saying on this blog the same night after the game was over. The damn SEC refs suspend all rules when UGA plays.


      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Who was the replay official for that game? Does anyone know?


        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Someone please tell me the replay official wasn’t Al Ford, the Ref whose entire crew got suspended for calling a fumble by Jasper Sanks as Sanks was going in for the winning TD (he was clearly down before the ball came out) in the 1999 GA-GA Tech game. The bogus call allowed Tech to win the game. He supposedly is now a replay official and (I think) still holds a grudge. Also, was he the replay official in the UGA-South Carolina game that said that SC made a first down when the replay clearly showed the receiver was short? Anyone know how to find this info out?


      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Senator, do you know the replay official was fo the GA-SC game or the GA- MSU game? How can we find that out?


      • devildawg

        I found a set of highlights for the game that shows the play from behind Murray. You can see the line judge running up to spot the ball, and while I can’t really say whether he’s blowing it, he clearly has the whistle in his mouth.

        And I’m still wondering a bit: with the umpire bleeding on the sideline, was the crew down a man for this play? And if there was a problem with the replay, or if there should have been a helmet-to-helmet penalty, when would we hear if McGarity or Richt are following up on that with the SEC?


    • Anon

      I stand corrected on that rule. I knew that it was in effect in the NFL.



  17. T Blair

    Good discussion. Quick question: how come our safeties never lay lumber like that?


  18. Prosticutor

    I was in the upper level looking practically straight down on that play. Even over those damned cowbells, I knew I heard a whistle. I still don’t know how they can review a fumble when the player is ruled down on a whistle and was texting friends at home to see if they heard a whistle too.

    As to the concussions, if you’ve never had one, you don’t get an opinion on Ealey’s reaction. I had one a few years ago, and it’s the most bizarre and unexplainable condition to be in. Your natural reactions that are normally instantanious fade immediately. Doctor asks you easy questions that you understand and know the answer to, but before the answer can come out of your mouth, you forget what you’re trying to respond to. Very scary.

    But back to that whistle….


    • anon

      I missed the part where it said he had a concussion.

      But then again, Ive never had a concussion, so I guess I shouldn’t be speaking on it.

      And since you’re a doctor . . .


  19. Will Trane

    Put them on a skidder or log truck for a day or two, and maybe they’d recognize the difference. Habits are hard to break. Maybe Lakotas needs to take a few to the wood shed along with Ealey and the rest of the offense. More than likely it is due to coaching and to practice. Can’t light them up if you do not (1) get into position to tackle and (2) tackle. See Carolina game DVD for tackling technique. Also recommend Arkansas game…they might know the color of the jersey as it went by. For sure they did not see the price tag. After the season that will another thing they work on in spring. The practice routine has “next”, “next”… never get there because they do not “finish”. A tap on the shoulder is sufficient for Ealey to put it on the ground. That is the technique he uses in pass blocking. Not only did he drop the ball, headgear, but almost his mouth piece.

    Turnovers have not gone their way this year on defense. Some have been there but the coaches would respond with some of those “finish” phrases. Some fans are probably already “finished”.

    Dawgs had 17 players make 40 solos and only 8 assists against MSU [according to the game stats, but those #s may not have been final]. Numbers would indicate not enough players around the ball. Several factors go into that. Probably are cautious in their play. Rambo said he would not get beat looking in like in LA-LA game, but appears he did again in the Arkansas game.

    Maybe a coach will use a phrase like this one day. We were physical, rather than finish. Our timing was down, rather than finish. Our blocking was solid and quick, rather than finish. Mindset. Perhaps they guard themselves using the word “finish”.


  20. Irishdawg

    Jesus, so Judgedawg knows the rule, but Wagers’ crew of buffoonish clods doesn’t? At what point does the SEC put a stop to the UGA screwing?


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      When the issue is made public and they have a spotlight shining on everything they do.


    • 69Dawg

      And this is surprising how. Penn Wagers has had a hard on for us since the “Celebration” he not only makes bad calls but when a call is made correctly he changes the rules. Remember when we were 3rd and goal and Mo Mass was held in the endzone and the Back Judge called the holding but Penn Wagers “Did not realize” that Mo Mass #1 was an eligible receiver so he did not give us the AUTOMATIC first down. If I ever met him face to face I would get arrested cause I would call him everything but a child of God.


  21. Marie

    Again, how long must we pay for the celebration vs the media’s prescious darlings lizards. We were penalized, during that game way back in 2007. the refs need to all be suspended for excessive penalizing against UGA.


  22. The Ole Ball Coach

    Ole Pollywagers does it again…. Takes away a Dawg TD, A Dawg interception, blows whistle on the fumble and then lies ABOUT IT….
    Lets see that is a 21 point turn around


  23. Dawgfan17

    Good call, no call, bad call whatever, UGA should be able to find a way to beat Miss State everytime.


  24. The Ole Ball Coach

    When the helmet comes off the play is dead.
    The play was dead before tyhe ball came out. Period


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  26. BoWeevil

    24-6 Missy State

    Quit with the EXCUSES

    We were NOT JOBBED in this game by OFFICIALS

    We were BEAT.

    Decisive win for Missy State.

    39-17 after 2005 season to-date, of which our SEC record is only 20-15. Quit trying to guild the lily Bluto.


  27. BoWeevil

    All you do by WHINING after EVERY DAMN FOOTBALL GAME on this blog, the OFFICIALS stole the game from us whey the way I recall the game it was a 24-6 score before we put up a garbarge TD with 1 minute to go, the NCAA jobbed us for 4 games instead of 2 for a CHEATER who turned his back on his teammates, we have had a LOT of INJURIES – jeez let’s stop sit down and list all the injuries, Mike Bobo called a bad play, it was only a scooter, the Police are OUT TO GET US

    ad infinitum

    ad naseum

    Missy State soundly BEAT US.

    Try saying that, JUST ONE TIME, when we LOSE



  28. BoWeevil

    All you do is to GUILD the LILY for Missy State.

    I hope that they come into THIS BLOG right here



    You are a bunch of whining poor losers, most of all Bluto for putting this crap up and having 100 comments about how UGA got screwed on a call in a 24-6 game to what should have been a 1-3 team.