S.E.C. Rules in "Replay Gate", Doesn't Favor Ole Miss - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

S.E.C. Rules in "Replay Gate", Doesn't Favor Ole Miss

The Southeastern Conference's coordinator

of officials said Monday there was nothing wrong with the reversal

of a call Saturday that guaranteed Alabama's 27-24 win over

Mississippi.

The reversal led to a storm of hurled garbage, the arrest of

three people and more hard feelings between the Rebels and the

Crimson Tide.

"When I watched the tape this morning, I saw nothing that would

give me guidance to dispute or disagree with the ruling of the

replay official," said Rogers Redding, the SEC's coordinator of

officials.

Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron and athletic director Pete Boone

strongly disagreed in their first comments since the game in

Oxford.

"The game should not end on a judgmental call from the box,"

Orgeron said. "Not after a game like that."

The rivals swapped leads throughout the game and it appeared

Alabama would win with a late rally. But on fourth down, Ole Miss

quarterback Seth Adams found receiver Shay Hodge for what appeared

to be a 41-yard reception at the Alabama 4 with 7 seconds left.

The Rebels lined up to take a shot into the end zone for the

win. But Alabama coach Nick Saban called a timeout and appealed to

the officials to ask for a review.

"I just happened to be at a vantage point on that particular

play where I saw the guy run out of bounds and it was right behind

the officials who it should have been what he was looking at, but

he probably was looking at the catch instead of that," said Saban,

the son of an official. "It's tough to see everything."

It turned out Saban was right. Hodge did run out of bounds, but

the call wasn't that simple. If he had been forced out by an

Alabama defender, Hodge had every right to run back in and make the

catch.

If he hadn't been forced out, he could only become eligible

again if a Crimson Tide player touched the ball before he did.

On the television replay, and to the more than 50,000 fans, it

looked as if Hodge snatched away the ball after an Alabama

defensive back first grabbed it.

As Alabama ran the final seconds off the clock to win the game,

fans began throwing garbage onto the field - everything from

whiskey and vodka bottles to a complete set of red high heels.

Saban urged his players to keep their helmets on and get into

the tunnel as quickly as possible. He said he wanted to make sure

his players weren't "mugging."

"There is no class in that," Saban told reporters after the

game. "I just want our players to represent the university with

class. If (Ole Miss fans) want to be classless, that's their

business."

The comment drew a sharp rebuke from Boone. He said he talked

Monday morning with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, who

reminded him of a similar incident last month when Crimson Tide

fans threw garbage at Georgia players.

"To a certain extent maybe Nick is kind of like a parent who

can see the faults of the children that live next door, but maybe

not your own," Boone said.

He said the fusillade of garbage was not acceptable and that

arrests were made and will be made if it happens again. But he

thought Saban should have minded his own business.

"I'm not real sure that some other coach ought to be talking

about our fans," Boone said. "I kind of resented that a little

bit."

All the hubbub was wasted as it turns out.

Redding said the replay official was right in ruling that Hodge

was not "blocked" out of bounds, as the rule requires. And he saw

two views of the catch that went against Ole Miss. One showed Hodge

touch the ball first and the second showed a "simultaneous"

catch, which by rule goes to the offensive player.

"I'm sick, but I have to deal with it," Orgeron said.

"There's nothing I can do about it. It's very, very unfair. This

is not about me. It's about my team. We should've been allowed to

play that last 7 seconds and let the best team win."

Ole Miss Head Coach Ed Orgeron says he'll just have to live with the ruling.

"We have to deal with it. It's very, very unfair. We should have been allowed to play that last 7-seconds. We have to move on to play Arkansas.">

The Rebels host The Razorbacks Saturday in Oxford.

On another Note: Rebel Defensive End Greg Hardy is named S.E.C. Defensive Player of the Week for his 13-tackle, 3-sack, 2-forced fumbles effort against Alabama.

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