What has become the Southeastern Conference’s most rugged rivalry had all the usual elements: two punishing defenses, a pivotal officials’ call that left both sides a bit perplexed and some follies in the kicking game.
The call went Auburn’s way.
With LSU facing fourth-and-8 from Auburn’s 31 and 2:43 left, JaMarcus Russell fired the ball to Early Doucet near the goal line. A diving Brock deflected the pass, but Zach Gilbert was called for pass interference that would have kept the drive alive.
The officials overturned the call, although replays showed the contact came before the ball was tipped by Brock.
“I got sick to my stomach,” said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville about seeing the flag. “I still don’t understand it. It’s just a judgment call and thank goodness it went our way.”
LSU coach Les Miles wasn’t happy with the change.
“If the ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage, there is no pass interference,” said Miles, also unhappy with a pass interference call against his team. “The ball was tipped downfield. The proper explanation will be forthcoming.”
Auburn (3-0, 2-0) got the ball but LSU’s defense stopped Kenny Irons on three straight runs. Irons had 70 yards on 25 tough carries.
The visiting Tigers (2-1, 0-1) drove to Auburn’s 24 with 2.5 seconds left as Russell hooked up with Craig Davis for gains of 20 and 21 yards and Dwayne Bowe for 21. On the final play, Russell went to Davis again. The receiver caught the pass inside the 10, but Brock stopped him cold with a jarring hit at the 4.
The referees made the interference call against Auburn's #38 Zach Gilbert (committed on LSU's Early Doucet), which was clear as day. Then they reversed the call that was already made, giving the ball to Auburn, and essentially ending the contest!
Then, to hear not only the CBS announcers Steve Beuerlein and his partner say the call was blown by the officials, but also New York CBS Sportscasters Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman echo the sentiments by the game announcers... I think there is a problem with the SEC officials.
I think it stinks to have a game ruined by the incompetence of not one, not two, but a crew of guys who can’t decipher the rules and make a correct call. This is the greatest conference in the country, and its fan base is the strongest in the nation with three of the six largest stadiums located in the SEC!
If Auburn would have won clean, I would have nothing but respect for them... and they had a well-deserved #3 national ranking. They have a national caliber football team that deserved a clean win... not this BS bad ref call to tarnish their season!
Well, what's done is done, but I honestly believe that the outcome could have been different!
Check out my LSU Football 2006 post.