SEC acknowledges major officiating mistakes in Auburn-Penn State game
The SEC has acknowledged some egregious errors made by the officiating crew charged with calling Saturday’s primetime showdown between No. 22 Auburn and No. 10 Penn State.
In the second quarter of Saturday’s game, Sean Clifford was flagged for intentional grounding on a miscommunication with one of his receivers. That call was bad enough. It was only compounded by what happened a few moments later.
Following the penalty, the downs were set to 3rd down when it should’ve actually been 2nd down. Despite making an argument and pleading his case, James Franklin was unable to make any headway with the officials and Penn State was forced to punt on what was actually 3rd-and-11.
The SEC released a statement on the poor judgment from the crew Saturday:
At 11:45 in the 2nd quarter, Penn State throws an incomplete pass that was judged to be Intentional Grounding. The crew’s enforcement of the penalty erroneously set the down to 3rd; the correct down should have been 2nd. The replay booth was consulted to confirm the down prior to the punt. The replay booth had the down as 4th down as well.
The error was discovered during the media timeout that followed the punt and by rule it could not be corrected at that time.
At halftime, Franklin was asked about the explanation he received from the crew regarding the situation, and he was left speechless.
The officiating error didn’t cost Penn State the game, as it posted a 28-20 victory over Auburn. It could’ve been a more impactful moment, though.
It’s something that cannot happen in the future.