It was a wild game in Memphis, as Mississippi State traveled to the Liberty Bowl, for an out of conference matchup with the Tigers. This was a game that the Bulldogs were favored by 3.5 points and seemed to have the game in hand during the second half, up 17-7. Well, what the Dogs didn’t know was things were about to get absolutely crazy.
After the Tigers stormed back to take a 21-17 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, they were about to punt into madness. Mississippi State had to punt the ball with 5:50 left In the 4th, after not being able to establish any kind of offense. This is where it got wacky, to be nice.
The Mississippi State special teams unit had the ball pinned down to the Memphis 5-yard line, or that’s what they thought. After having the referee come in and throw his bean bag to establish the downed ball, while also starting to wave his hands, signaling the play was dead, a Memphis player swooped in and took the ball to the house. What looked like a downed ball at the 5-yard line turned into a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown. Absolute madness is a term I would use about the officiating on this play. Also, it turns out Memphis had two players on the field wearing the same jersey number, which is an automatic five-yard penalty.
How in the world was this not reviewed?
Referee clearly signals the play down for Mississippi State. pic.twitter.com/zqeAlBveYv
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) September 18, 2021
Mike Leach must’ve not known what exactly happened, as he did not challenge the play and the referees did not review it either. This was a total collapse from the officiating crew and an incident they should be throughly reviewed over.
Memphis ended up winning 31-29 and sent Mississippi State home to Starkville wondering what the heck just happened.
Just another day in the SEC.