Turning points

I haven’t brought myself to the stage where I’m ready to draft my Observations post yet, but I do want to note that Seth Emerson nails what I thought were the two biggest plays of the national title game:

Tagovailoa’s third-down scramble: Alabama was facing third-and-7 near midfield on its second drive of the second half. Tagovailoa was pressure to the right, but escaped and went left for nine yards and a first down. Five plays later the Crimson Tide got a touchdown to make it 13-7. On the scramble, four different Bulldogs got hands on him – Bellamy, D’Andre Walker, Trenton Thompson and Roquan Smith – and couldn’t bring him down. Yeah, those are missed tackles, but those are also really good players, and on that play Tagovailoa simply made a great play. There was also no contain to the left side.

Either way, it was a confidence-boosting spark for Tagovailoa and the Alabama offense.

Jake Fromm’s second interception and the run-back: Deandre Baker had just picked off a pass at the Alabama 39. This was a prime opportunity to build on a 13-point lead, and with less time left in the game it could’ve been a knockout blow.

Fromm, committing a rare mistake, violated the old Mike Bobo rule of not turning a bad play into a catastrophe. Fromm was initially pressured by Payne – who had gone by Lamont Gaillard – and with Deshawn Hand (being blocked by Kendall Baker) right in front of him, Fromm tried to dump it off to Sony Michel, who was indeed open right in front of him. But Fromm threw it before he looked up all the way, so it doinked off Hank’s helmet. Alabama’s Raekwon Davis had great awareness, grabbing it out of the air and then rumbling down to the Georgia 40.

Watching Tagovailoa escape the grasps of a number of Dawg defenders who had collapsed the pocket was the most frustrating moment of the evening.  Sack him there and I really believe Alabama never recovers; instead, that play was the spark that lit the second-half comeback.

As for the pick, yeah, it was a combination of a bad decision by Fromm (although with Payne bearing down on his ass, an understandably bad decision) and some bad luck with the deflection, but for all the complaining about the conservative playcalling in the second half, I was questioning why Georgia wasn’t running the ball in that situation anyway.  Starting inside the ‘Bama 40 with the night Blankenship was having, ten yards would have likely netted three points at a time when a sixteen-point lead might have proven insurmountable.

In any event, those two plays go differently, and the refs’ bad night wouldn’t have made any difference.

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116 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

116 responses to “Turning points

  1. Hardcoredawg 93

    Roquon being tackled from behind helped make that a great play.

    Like

    • Jeff Sanchez

      AMEN

      Out of all the legit beef over the bad/no calls, this one is being ignored, and it’s arguably the BIGGEST of them all.

      Yeah, still pissed.

      Like

    • Jt (the other one)

      Glad I wasn’t the only one who saw that…

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    • Ellis

      That was one of the most flagrant missed calls and it had a significant consequence. I was stunned when it happened and no flag was thrown.

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    • Granthams replacement

      The takeaway is Pittman needs to teach the OL to tackle Alabama players since lineman holding penalties have become like traveling calls on the NBA.

      Like

      • You forget the rule of “playing while Georgia”

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        • mwo

          I cannot get past the screwing we took by the officials. Someone (maybe me) is going to tote an ass whipping over this. I am a 57 year old man and normally fairly balanced. I have cut down 6 trees, punched my heavy bag until I couldn’t punch anymore, and I still am as pissed as I was Monday night. One of my best friends from high school (he is a Bama fan) called me Tuesday to gloat. I lit him up for about 5 minutes and he told me to stop whining. I got in my vehicle and drove from Pine Mountain to Ringgold to beat his ass. He wouldn’t open the door. Probably saved me from going to jail. So yes I am bitter and no I am nowhere near over it yet.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. ugafidelis

    He noted it, but what’s really sad is that Sony was WIDE open and could have broken a big gain off of it.

    When that happened, (although I still held out hope) I knew deep in my heart that the football gods were going to strike again and it would not be.

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  3. Yurdle

    That scramble was nuts. Also, Roquan was the spy and got straight up tackled by one of the guards.

    Like

  4. Jack Klompus

    I get angst reading these as I did when I watched them, albeit on a slightly lesser scale. But, not by much.

    Like

  5. 79DawgatWork

    Even if Fromm gets sacked instead of the interception, it is 2 more minutes off the clock, punt and make Bama drive the field – just Old Lady Luck being a real bitch again…

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  6. Alkaline

    While I agree those two plays stand out as memorable, there were perhaps as many as a dozen snaps in the second half (and maybe even some in the first half) that could have resulted in things going our way at 0:00.

    For me, thinking things through more specifically than that would be torture.

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    • WF Dawg

      Yep. This game will haunt me for a long time. Probably until we win a national championship. And every loss that keeps us from winning a national championship will hurt even worse now. It’s Thursday and I’m still in agony.

      Like

      • WF Dawg

        Maybe this game is the ultimate test for pessimism. I wonder if we’ll think of 2017 in retrospect as the year of South Bend/Pasadena/SEC Championship/being ahead-of-schedule or as the year the Dawgs blew a second-half lead in a very winnable national championship? I’m trying hard to choose the former, mainly because I don’t want to give that 2nd half the power to overshadow a lot of really great experiences this year. But damn, just damn.

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        • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

          Aside from Alabama and Clemson, it is really, really hard to be in the Playoff picture year after year. In the SEC, typically, that road runs through Tuscaloosa, making it that much harder.

          I view this game the same as 2012. It was a special night with a special opportunity to do something historic, that lady luck simply wasn’t ours.

          I think Kirby in 2017 is more likely to get back to the playoffs faster than Richt 2012, but it still feels like the window that was open before us on Monday night has closed.

          I am no less confident that Kirby will win a national championship than I was after Richt won the SEC in 2002. It seemed a fait accompli in the spring of 2002 that we would be back, and back soon. This is not to compare the two coaches, simply to comment on how truly difficult it is to make it to the top and stay there.

          Liked by 2 people

          • WF Dawg

            I’m with you to a large extent. There are just so many factors that have to align to even have a shot at a national championship. The injury situation can sabotage you (2013), as can inexplicable losses (2004, 2007) or fluke plays (2012). This year, it was a combination of fluke plays (helmet-deflected INT), missed assignments (3rd&8 scramble, 2nd&26), and poor officiating. The difference for me here is that while the fluke plays and officiating were out of our control, the missed assignments were not. And if just one of those goes our way, we likely win. The chance of Tua escaping on that scramble, for instance, has to have been <5%, maybe <2%. How do we fail there? And how long until we have a chance to redeem ourselves? Maybe Kirby’s recruiting and the mentality he’s imparting mean that it’ll be sooner, rather than later, but given the realities of fluke plays, injuries, and poor officiating, nothing’s guaranteed. That win on Monday was next-to-guaranteed, and we let it slip away. The horror, the horror.

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          • Greg

            Well said…the program looks better to me know than ever. Other eras could be argued, but damn…we have the talent….& for the most part, staff. I feel like we will make a run like we did in 80’s.

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        • Russ

          For me, it was a damned special year. Taking over South Bend and beating ND. Revenge against Auburn to win the SECCG. Winning the Rose Bowl after being down 17 to the OMG GREATEST OFFENSE EVAH!!1!! And yeah, blowing the NC on the last play of the game, the ONLY time Bama lead the entire game. Still, a great season and one I’ll remember for a long time.

          The future is bright.

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    • paul

      Agreed. Just think how much harder it is for the players. I just hope this isn’t the sort of loss that haunts us until all the guys on the team Monday night are gone. I believe that was true of the 2012 loss.

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      • Macallanlover

        Good comment, realistic assessment that as good as we will be, getting an invite to this mini- playoff is extremely difficult…especially with the gorilla in Tuscaloosa in front of us every year…Clemson and ohio simply do not face that.

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        • Russ

          Mac, to me, our path to the playoffs is very clear, though certainly not easy. Win the SECCG and we’re in. I expect us to be back in Atlanta the next few years, so we’ll be right there.

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          • Macallanlover

            I understand winning the SEC, but it remains the most difficult in the country to win. We have 13 titles, in 120 years. And ties don’t count. Agree we will win more, and relatively soon, but they are precious and come from really tough tests. This conference recruits the most top athletes, and puts the most in the NFL. Don’t get misled by the “SEC is down” crap, it is still a tough grind. Go to “weak” Kentucky at night, or Starkville and you will find it isn’t Kansas, Dorothy.

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      • sniffer

        The team will move on. Let me explain this way. They have played enough and committed enough uncalled penalties themselves to know that these even out over time. They see calls and non-calls every game. Hell, we’ve all played enough rec league games to know that fouls and penalties go both ways.

        I would also add that last year Saban had every reason to pitch a fit over the pick call/non-call to end the CFP Championship game against Clemson. I don’t remember him saying much at all. That’s why I don’t think we are going to hear from Kirby on the matter of the officiating either.

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  7. Former Fan

    No doubt, those are the two biggest plays of the game that were within the control of the players. Either of those go the other way and UGA likely wins the game.

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  8. Greg

    Best team always wins….there are always missed calls on each side, you can only control what you can control. With that being said, I thought we went conservative too early, play calling become predictable….run, run, pass. I also thought we should have used Sony more…and maybe Hardman around the edges more (TD)…..it was working. Not complaining at all here, easy to second guess. I thought we had an outstanding season, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to get here (MNC). Proud of the dawgs and the season we had, a lot of fight and determination… we’ll get there…

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    • Jeff Sanchez

      Please tell me the five missed called that had as big an effect on Bama as they did on us

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      • He won’t because there are none. And “best team always wins” may be the most ludicrous thing ever typed out here at this blog.

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        • Greg

          You want the blame the refs…go ahead. I would bet the players and staff would tell you differently.

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          • Wrong on your assessment of the staff’s view. CKS said as much in the postgame press conference.

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            • Greg

              Oh yeah….what did he say?? Quote him.

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              • He said they “deserved” to win.

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                • Greg

                  Hell…..all the kids deserve to win.

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                  • And how can that be so if one team in every game is undeniably THE BEST? You don’t have a very firm grip on logic. But carry on.

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                    • Greg

                      Two things:

                      1) I see your response on “deserve”….but where is the link?? I would like to at least see some context.

                      2) There is more to a football team that just the players, that is why I replied the way I did. You have luck, you have coaching, game planning, game adjustments and sometimes you may not have the talent to match up evenly with the opposition (ie, DB’s versus WR)….but the players bust their ass and do their best. That does not mean that the best team did not win. Hence, the “deserve” comment.

                      The best team always wins…. they did Monday night. Again, I certainly do not think the team and staff are saying that (best team lost)….if so, not a good sign. If you want to think otherwise, fine. We all are entitled… but my opinion is what it is, it should not be important enough to try and change it. Nothing wrong with disagreeing, accept it and just move along…I have.

                      Like

              • Cojones

                Hey, Sport, tell me you didn’t think that was the coach of the subordinate team that raced onto the field after the game under the name of Saban. Tell me that you didn’t think the best team lost when you saw that relieved coach running out there. If you can say that, you didn’t watch the game.

                Lone posts like he watched the game closely and he is correct on each post I’ve read of his for two days. The Dawgs were whipping an arrogant ‘Bama team when the shit holding and shit non-calls occurred. You bet Tua made a difference along with game changing non-calls that suborned outright cheating.

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                • Greg

                  JEEBUS!!…you’re not even rational,

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                • I think you gotta let this guy ramble. Usually people talk themselves into irrelevance. He only materialized in any real way in the two days since this game ended. He seems to maintain a contrarian and dystopian philosophy on what we witnessed Monday. But, to each his own.

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      • Greg

        Who said there were 5 plays (Bama)?? “there are always missed calls on both sides” …..If you want to know what calls were missed, go back and look at each play, slow it down, watch all 11 carefully. I am sure you will find something. I don’t have the time or inclination to break down things for you.

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        • Jeff Sanchez

          LMAO. So you get to make the statement, then tell me to do the work when I ask you for clarification.

          Moreover, I asked you to tell me missed calls that had as big an effect. Should be pretty easy if what you say is true.

          Nice try, bud.

          Liked by 1 person

          • PTC DAWG

            He’s can’t give you 1 call missed on the field that hurt Bama.

            Like

          • Greg

            In short, there are probably missed calls on almost every play….a grab of the jersey, a hand that may get caught in a face mask, helmet to helmet, a shove in the back, a flinch before the ball is snapped, illegal formation, too many on LOS, linemen releasing downfield too soon, defensive players coaxing offense to jump, grabbing someone’s nuts and gouging their eyes at the bottom of the pile and etc. The refs are not going to catch everything or get every call right. They are human…and some may call things different.

            Hopefully…..you ain’t that slow and get the idea. Somewhere in all those plays, there are missed calls. You want to know what team, what qtr, what time and the infraction…you go back and look it up. No time to review the entire game and plays and report back answers to you.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      The best team does not always win, and fuck that noise. Georgia played well enough to win an evenly called game. They needed to play a little better to beat Bama and the officials at the same, which is a tall order.

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      • Greg

        We still had the opportunity to win, we didn’t. Bama stepped up and controlled the 2nd half. Would it have changed the outcome of the game if they got all calls right and had no missed calls??….who knows. No doubt the crew of refs were horrible, but it usually works out that way for both sides…..they did not conspire.

        Bama was the best team that day and won, they stepped up. We were not the same team the 2nd half as the first. We had our chances. If the circumstances were reversed and we won, I would say the same (best team won)…and more than likely, so would you. The best team always wins….

        Again, with all of that said…I am proud of the Dawgs, I have not been this proud in a long time. They fought tooth and nail, never gave up. I am just not going to blame the game on the refs…and I bet you would not hear that from the players and staff side.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          No, the best team does not always win. That’s ludicrous. As for the calls usually going both ways, they didn’t in the specific game we’re discussing, and they often don’t in others.

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          • Greg

            Tale of 2 halves, but have it your way.

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            • Biggus Rickus

              Yes, in one half the officials didn’t blow multiple calls in one team’s favor, and in the other half they did. That’s what you meant, right? If I acknowledge that Georgia could have still won in spite of the horrible calls if they’d made a couple of more plays, will you concede that the officials were terrible? If not, then fuck off.

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              • Greg

                Which horrible calls?? If you are referring to the blocked punt, as pointed out…it would not have mattered (motion). Are you arguing the couple of no calls??…”Biggus Rickus”. Still get a laugh every time I see that handle. You never answered me before, are you compensating with that name??

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  See the end of my last comment.

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                  • Greg

                    If you want me the “fuck off”….then quit jumping in, “Little Richard” 😉. It takes two, but you already knew that….right??

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                    • Troll gonna troll. You just do not seem to understand that a sequence of events (plays) are affected positively or negatively by prior events (plays). I can’t help if you refuse to accept logic.

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                    • Greg

                      But yet you keep on and on…why is it so important that you convince me of your way of thinking??

                      If I am a “troll” as you say, you’re sure as hell are easy. Stay in control, you can do it….you decide.

                      Like

                • Uglydawg

                  Yeah..about the blocked punt…
                  They got 10 yard of turf out (penaty on them cost them 5..instead they got 5) of it and it moved the ball closer to the first down marker, effectively taking away Georgia’s pressuring the kicker. So ‘Bama got off an unpressured kick, ten yards further up the field than they should have.

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                  • The point is: if the officials were calling the play as their actions indicated, there was no infraction on either side at the snap. No flag was tossed at the snap, only after the punt was blocked. It’s obvious and damning proof of a line judge (or someone else) who was influenced to alter reality.

                    Like

    • Sanford222view

      Hearing now Sony hurt his hip in the Rose Bowl and played through it in Atlanta. Then late in the game it was impacting him again and couldn’t go. If true, likely the reason he didn’t see the ball much again.

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  9. Uglydawg

    ‘Mom, I don’t have money for lunch at school today because I was robbed at the bus stop”
    “If you had mowed one more lawn over the weekend, you’d still have money for your lunch. Go hungry.”
    Hell. Tyler Simmons made one hell of a play.
    I think what would help me get over this (mostly..but never completely) would be for some huge sports media outlet…CFN or a big time newspaper’s sport’s page, to acknowledge what happened and do it in bold type.
    Don’t ask me why because I can’t explain it. But I wish it would happen.

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    • noseanmorono

      Never gonna happen. Everyone out there knows it…Saban was getting flat beaten at his own game and the Tua gamble was a Roquan held sack away from being two three-and-outs and a bust of a gamble, and Saban looks like a sad sack of a coach who is finally being usurped by his underlings. But the Saban as God narrative is already stamped and sealed, like the Meyer narrative. It’s too delicious for the sports press to stray away from, and it’s here to stay. I wish someone could take the shot of Saban before halftime, frame it, and put it out here for public consumption. That man was on the verge of tears or a stroke.

      Like

  10. Uglydawg

    “clickbait” on steriods. Here’s looking at you, AJC.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      The weak story the AJC ran today was milquetoast. Pretty much excused the officiating crew on most (not all ) of the calls the story addresses, and it certainly doesn’t address them all…they try to smooth it over by noting that Alabama had a couple of penalties (noted as deserved) in the first half. So what? Deserved penalties are supposed to be called.
      Grow some balls, AJC and run a Major headline and real story with pics.

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      • The powers that be at the Atlanta Sports Council will make sure that never happens. They want the Peach Bowl to continue to be a New Year’s 6 game and for Atlanta to be in the running for future CFP national championship games. Having the local major media outlet call out the officiating as piss poor or worse would be very bad for them.

        Accept it, DawgNation, it’s Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Texas, and USC’s world and we’re all living in it. If you’re going to beat a blue blood, know that it’s going to be 19 vs. 11 all night long.

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      • Uglydawg

        So thank you, Seth for placing a bandaid over this sucking chest wound.

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        • Uglydawg

          If, as is suggested, Alabama players moved early on the punt..that is a ten yard difference in where the punt ultimately was kicked from (take away penalty..give them theirs).It’s likey that Kirby would have went for the block again with that much space for error. At any rate 10 yards was not an insignificant thing at all in a game this close.

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  11. Brandon M

    If “if’s” and “But’s” were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas and a national championship. Just wasn’t meant to be. As great as this season was, really this is the sickest joke imaginable the bitches could have played on us. And that they did.

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    • Uglydawg

      I contend that this time, it wasn’t “the bitches”.

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      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Sorry to disagree, Ug, but I don’t remember a game where the Bitchez were more active…maybe Penn State 82? In spite of that we damn sure filled the unforgiving moment with 60 seconds worth of distance run…two years from now in Jerusalem.

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  12. For everyone complaining about the refs….we all knew, damn well, that we were going to get shitted by the refs before kickoff, so no one is surprised at all. It is just the way it is. A portion of these big games is rigged by people not in the stadium. Period. It’s a big shit sandwhich and UGA fans are just going to have to eat it. Hell, even Finebaum said it was the worst officiated game he has ever seen, but then followed up with, “Alabama won and that is not going to change.”

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  13. DawgByte

    I agree those were two critical plays. I’d also add two more.

    The missed face masking on Swift. That would have tacked on 15 yards to our field position and put us within range of Blankenships right leg.
    The missed personal foul by Mack Wilson. Again that should have resulted in 15 more yards, putting Bama on its heals and potentially putting us in a position to add more points. At a bare minimum it would have allowed us to chew up more clock and flip the field on Bama.

    Like

  14. Macallanlover

    Not to minimize Tua’s effort on Play #1, but it was not like he broke the grasp of multiple tackles. He seemed to be hit from a couple of sides and bounced like a pin ball by defenders who were off balance and never able to get a real chance to bring him down. Perhaps they should have but it looked like they were never in a good position despite being all around him. Unfortunate for sure, and a significant play, but it wasn’t like a Sony/Chubb pulling away from defenders who had secure grips. Accept I may be wrong, have only seen the replay once, but I was focusing on what everyone was saying about R.

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  15. After the Tua scramble I immediately told my wife that the game had just changed and this play would haunt us. Before the next play was even snapped.

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  16. ASEF

    I see plenty of incidental face masks that don’t get called. The SI Cover of Tua scrambling shows a hand in his face mask. If Swift were breaking down the sideline and it helped bring him down, it probably gets called. Running backwards with two more guys closing in… officials aren’t going to bail him out.

    In last year’s championship game, Clemson ran 57 pass plays against an NFL front 7 without a single.hold. it’s not called anymore, especially in high profile games.

    Yes, the officiating was bad at times. If that miracle 4th and 4 gets batted down, Bama fans are howling about the bear hugs on Smith and Harris.

    College football uses volunteers to officiate games. We have always known this. We never do anything about it.

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    • 92 grad

      Has it ever been clearer that the game has passed these refs? They (all conferences) simply aren’t talented enough to keep up with the play. Nowadays these kids are making superhuman feats just to gain a first down, or kick a punt, or just make a catch. The level of execution on display during our final two games was astonishing.

      Like

    • Those guys are paid to officiate.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Since you mention the 4th-and-4, check out the false start on the WR at the bottom of the screen directly in the face of the line judge. Again, the timing and impact of these non-calls is indisputable.

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    • Jeff Sanchez

      GTFO with this nonsense.

      “bailing someone out” has NOTHING to do with someone’s head being twisted around on a tackle.

      And the “miracle” 4th and 4 should have been a 4th and 9.

      I’m glad you’re recognizing it as a miracle though. He blindly threw it into traffic (as he should have) and it found a home.

      Tua came in and performed amazingly given the circumstances (especially the walk off pass), but Jesus some are acting like Joe freakin’ Montana came in and played the second half

      Liked by 1 person

  17. illini84

    “College football uses volunteers to officiate games. We have always known this. We never do anything about it.” I’ve read some dumb shit on this blog but this takes first place.

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  18. What Fresh Hell is This?

    Granted the officiating was atrocious, but I keep thinking about the playcalling on one particular series, that being the 9:20 mark of the 4th quarter. It’s 1st and 10 from our own 14 with a 7 pt lead. Fromm runs out wide left and we go wild dawg. Everyone in the world knows there will not be a pass. I scream Nooo! at the TV. Bama immediately brings the safety/DB (#15) up to the line and Chubb is hit in the backfield for a 1 yd loss. OK, got that out of your system, Jim? Next play Fromm is back under center: end around for 9 yds. Not too shabby, Jim. So, 3rd and 2. Time to make them guess whether we’re going run or pass? Nope, again we run Fromm out wide left: again Bama runs the safety up to the line and again everybody in the world knows pre-snap that it’s a run. Mecole takes his soaking wet 100 lbs straight up the gut of the Bama D and goes nowhere.

    Don’t get me wrong. I thought that on the whole, Chaney called a good game, but that series was infuriating. We controlled our own destiny at that point in the game. You can point to many game changing plays and calls made or missed by the officials in that game, but that’s one that really sticks in my craw.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ASEF

    Penn Wagers.

    30 seconds after he wore out his welcome in the SEC, he had a job in the ACC. Why? Because he was ridiculously more qualified than the hordes of other professional refs clamoring for the position. No, because he met  a minimal proficiency and wanted the opening.

    That’s much closer to volunteer than professional.

    And that’s how officiating is handled in CFB, and that defines baseline quality. We know this. We only gripe when it costs us.

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    • jtp03

      And it sure seems to cost us a hell of a lot more than it does a team like Alabama. Curious how that seems to work.

      When is the last time we’ve had to swallow our pride and say “wow, we really benefitted from about 6 calls/no-calls in that hard-fought win”

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Cosmic Dawg

    The other turning point was that time in the second half that we called for Chubb to run it into the teeth of the best run defense in America for no gain.

    You know that time I’m talking about?

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