One Blatant Missed Call Put The Nail In LSU’s Coffin

As LSU and Alabama met in Death Valley on Saturday night, the stage was set for one of the biggest games of the 2016 college football season. The contest lived up to the hype in almost every imaginable way, as the Crimson Tide topped the Tigers by a final score of 10-0 in one of the most memorable defensive battles in recent history.

The two teams matched each other stop-for-stop on defense for much of the game, but the tie was eventually broken and LSU’s brutal offensive performance was not enough to even muster a single point in a comeback attempt.

With the way the Tigers offense played, LSU had no business winning the game. Despite a fantastic defensive showing, the team was outplayed and, in the end, deserved to lose. But despite all of that, the game was still full of controversy, as once again Nick Saban and Alabama got quite a bit of help from the SEC officiating crew. 

The most notable referee-related incident on the night came on the play that would ultimately decide the outcome of the game. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts ran the ball into the end zone to give the Crimson Tide a 7-0 lead, one that they would never relinquish. But, on the play, it was very clear that THREE Alabama players were either holding an LSU defender or blocking one in the back. I can understand missing one, but when three players on a team are committing blatant, visible fouls and no call is made, there’s something going on there. If you didn’t see the play, take a look:

As you can see, the three fouls are very clear and visible, and obviously had a huge impact on Hurts’ ability to break free and get into the end zone. The play should have never counted, Alabama should’ve been backed up 10 yards, and the LSU defense lives to fight another day. But instead, they trail 7-0 and all hope seems lost.

The general reaction from a lot of people, predominantly Alabama fans, was that we need to suck it up because “holding happens on every play” and “the missed call doesn’t matter.” The “holding on every play” argument is absolutely absurd. I’m sure it does, to a degree, but three blatant holds is something that has to be called.

Anyone who makes that point isn’t worth debating, so let’s move on to the second one. I saw quite a few people on social media saying something along the lines of “Alabama won 10-0 so even if they would have called the penalty they would have just kicked a field goal and still won 6-0.” Maybe I’m crazy, but that just doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense to me.

The missed holding call absolutely did matter. If Alabama had been held to a field goal on that possession, and assuming they would have still put up another three points later in the fourth, that means LSU would’ve only faced a one-possession deficit as they made a comeback attempt. When the Tide went up 10-0, we all knew that our offense had no chance of scoring twice, but a one score game, that would’ve been more than doable.

By not throwing the flags on that play, the referees essentially ended the football game. The ending of the contest was not decided by the two teams. If the holds get called, LSU still has a fighters chance in the game down the stretch. But instead, the Tigers were forced to go through drastic efforts to overcome a 10-point deficit that, in reality, should have been six.

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