There Is A Big Problem In The Rulebook, And It Cost LSU

Preface: I am in no way a rules expert.

In last night’s 10-0 loss at home to the Alabama Crimson Tide, the LSU offense struggled to get anything going against Nick Saban’s defense. Danny Etling was unable to move the ball down the field through the air, and against the bruising Alabama run defense, Leonard Fournette was completely ineffective.

The Tigers got a great effort from their defense, but the offense never really came close to putting points on the board to give them any help. LSU’s best scoring chance came on their first possession of the game after Jamal Adams intercepted a Jalen Hurts pass. Colby Delahoussaye lined up for a field goal that would have been a season-high, but it was blocked by the Tide.

The offense would look completely stagnant for the rest of the game, until in the third quarter we saw the Tigers start to move the ball a bit. They were finally in Alabama territory, and looked like they were finally making the defense sweat a little bit.

LSU appeared to catch a massive break on a first down play on that drive. Danny Etling was forced to scramble out of the pocket and flip it to Colin Jeter in the flat for a five-yard gain. Jeter was hit late going out of bounds, which drew a flag from the officials. Three other Alabama players would then start a brief scuffle, drawing three more flags on the Tide. By the time everything was sorted out, there were five flags to be announced.

The head referee began by pegging four Alabama defenders with unsportsmanlike conduct personal fouls, and just as Death Valley started to roar, he announced a single flag on the LSU Tigers. One of LSU’s players had been involved briefly in the sideline incident, so he was also assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Here’s where the ridiculousness of the entire situation comes in. The official then announced that the penalties would offset, and the teams would resume action with second down where Jeter went out of bounds.

Now, I know it’s TECHNICALLY the correct ruling, but HOW IN THE WORLD DOES ONE PENALTY OFFSET FOUR PERSONAL FOULS???

You can tell me “if the LSU player had kept his cool, the team would have gotten the 15 yards.” That’s true, but it does not justify this inexcusable rule. Four personal fouls should not be able to be offset by one, it just doesn’t make a single bit of sense. To take it to an extreme, Alabama could have kept hitting more and more LSU players and even injured some and all of those fouls would still have been offset by the Tigers’ one. Is that really something that makes sense?

Whether it’s the NCAA or SEC, somebody needs to look at this rule. Not only because it negatively impacted my team, but because it’s utterly ridiculous. This is something that needs to change.

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