Memphis defeated Mississippi State 31-29 on Saturday afternoon. The victory didn’t come without controversy.
With just under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Tigers sitting on a 21-17 lead, Mississippi State punted on fourth-and-6 from their own 47-yard line. The ball dropped at around the Memphis two-yard line and bounced forward roughly seven yards.
As everyone else assumed the play was dead, Calvin Austin III jogged over, scooped the ball up and ran it back 94 yards for a touchdown. That gave the Tigers a 28-17 lead.
Video of the play speaks for itself:
— American Football (@American_FB) September 18, 2021
ESPN commentators rip refs in Memphis-Miss St game over bizarre punt return football TD pic.twitter.com/omphpkJtSK
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 18, 2021
A nearby referee can very clearly be seen trying to blow the play dead before Austin’s touchdown run, but it was to no avail.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Memphis also had two players on the field wearing jersey No. 4 – which should’ve been called out.
Just a disaster on all fronts.
Obviously Oregon was accused of cheating versus Ohio State last week as well, but their sins were nowhere near this egregious.
Sadly, awful officiating is becoming all too common in the world of football – regardless of level. Last week a ref who didn’t realize he was mic’d up seemingly made up a call during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 1 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Never forget Dan Mullen’s biggest contribution to Florida football. https://t.co/SXMqNYTf0o
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 19, 2021
Just awkward stuff all around.
Mississippi State has some very real problems that need to be addressed, but that doesn’t change the fact that they definitely got screwed in this particular case.