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Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott says that No. 23 Auburn had some help from SEC officials when a late review upheld a questionable Tigers‘ reception which set up the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Georgia State held the momentum for most of the game with a 24-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but as the Tigers were down by five at home on Saturday, Auburn quarterback TJ Finley threw a 19-yard pass to John Samuel Shenker. ESPN reports the play was reviewed and a replay appeared to show the ball hit the turf. Instead, officials confirmed that it was a catch, setting up first-and-goal.
Within three plays, Finley scrambled and threw a 10-yard touchdown to Shedrick Jackson to take the lead with 45 seconds left. Auburn held on to win 34-24.
“They had a little bit of help on that review where the ball was incomplete,” Elliott said. “It should have been put back on the 30-yard line. But you know when you play in the SEC you gotta take the hits. And they gave us a real gut punch on that call. So we appreciate that.”
Elliott said he was proud of his team for the way it competed, despite the questionable call from officials.
“It’s a disappointing feeling,” Elliott said. “Sports can rip you apart. That was a tough one to lose.”
Auburn was limited to 9-of-20 on third-down conversion attempts and rushed for only 166 yards, and QB Bo Nix was eventually benched in favor of Finley.
ESPN reports that Finley’s pass to Jackson was Auburn’s only offensive touchdown of the game. The Tigers’ other points came from field goals and a blocked punt.
Last week during Memphis’ 31-29 win over Mississippi State, the Tigers got away with a few things that the SEC officiating crew have now acknowledged were mistakes — the SEC has not acknowledged the Georgia State situation, though.