Butch Dill/Associated Press
Arkansas found itself on the wrong end of a controversial call near the end of its 30-28 road loss to No. 13 Auburn on Saturday:
Afterward, the SEC attempted to clarify the situation with a postgame statement:
Auburn was staring down a potential home upset against unranked Arkansas: Down 28-27, the Tigers faced a 3rd-and-1 on the Razorback 19-yard line with 20 seconds remaining with no timeouts left.
Tigers quarterback Bo Nix then attempted to cleanly spike the ball to stop the clock. He appeared to fumble the snap, pick up the ball and then spike the pigskin backward.
Arkansas defensive back Joe Foucha then pounced on (and eventually corralled) the loose ball, and the Razorbacks initially appeared to have gotten a turnover on towns by claiming that Nix committed a backward pass instead of a spike.
However, referees decided that Nix had committed intentional grounding, meaning a loss of down and a spot foul. With a second lease on life, the Tigers won after Auburn kicker Anders Carlson knocked home a 39-yard field goal to win the game.
Referees did appear to blow the whistle dead before Foucha gained full possession of the ball, but based on the defensive back’s heads-up play to get to the football before anyone else, it’s hard to envision any other player getting to it before him if the play wasn’t blown dead.
Alas, it was, and Auburn escaped with a win.