There was plenty of excitement with much-anticipated matchups involving SEC teams in the opening days of the season. However, there were some lowlights as well.
Starting with No. 9 Tennessee slipping by Appalachian State on Thursday night and continuing through top-ranked Alabama’s blowout of No. 20 Southern Cal, much of what will be remembered from Week 1 will be the ejections from games involving SEC teams.
In all cases, the ejections were no-brainers.
Here are some of Week 1’s most memorable calls.
Touchdown or incompletion?
If Tennessee had lost, this play would have come back to haunt the Vols. For a moment, it appears Josh Dobbs connects with Preston Williams for a first-quarter touchdown in the back of the end zone. But the officials saw otherwise.
The play resulted in an incompletion, which led to a 23-yard field goal from Aaron Medley. It appears the catch is made, but the ball squirts out at the last moment.
Oh-so-close, indeed. Fortunately for Tennessee, this play didn’t loom larger.
Ruled no TD – Tenn settles for FG. App St 7 Tenn 3 pic.twitter.com/15tbHg4Q5m
— Heavens! (@HeavensHawkeye) September 2, 2016
Targeting takes out a key member of Tennessee’s defense
It’s wise to protect players. But sometimes, you have to shake your head at why some defenders place themselves in bad scenarios.
Take this situation involving Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin. The Appalachian State return man signals for a fair catch, only to have Reeves-Maybin nail him. It’s such a brutal hit that you can almost feel it come through your screen.
This can’t happen in the future. Reeves-Maybin is too valuable to Tennessee’s chances to take himself out in this way. He must stay on the field.
Tennessee called for targeting on punt return. #21 Jalen Reeves-Maybin ejected. App St 7 Tenn 3 1:43 1st pic.twitter.com/d499IVR59R
— Heavens! (@HeavensHawkeye) September 2, 2016
Pass interference leads to points against Missouri
Saturday was a rough start to the Barry Odom era. Missouri struggled to score in a 26-11 loss to West Virginia, and if the first game was a reliable guide, the Tigers can’t help opposing offenses in the future.
With Missouri trailing 3-0, Tiger defensive back John Gibson was called for pass interference on third-and-11. The next play, Mountaineers running back Rushel Shell ran 23 yards for a touchdown.
Not good. If points will be hard to come by for Missouri this season, the Tigers’ defense can’t give opponents extra opportunities.
Missouri bails out WVU with pass interference in the end zone on third-and-11, Shell scores on a 23-yard run on the next play. 10-0, WVU.
— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) September 3, 2016
LSU avoids disaster on a punt
LSU punt returner Tre’Davious White flirted with disaster on a punt with 11:06 left in the fourth quarter.
The ball nearly grazed his foot as he attempted to back up out of the way, a clear sign he misjudged the bounce in a major way.
Fortunately for the Tigers, officials determined White avoided the ball altogether, and LSU began its drive at its own 12-yard line. On a day when both teams had difficulty scoring, this would have been a golden chance for Wisconsin.
Tre'Davious White with nearly a huge blunder on a punt return as he lets the punt bounce and it nearly hits his foot. LSU ball
— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) September 3, 2016
LSU’s Josh Boutte delivers a brutal blow
This will be one of the most memorable plays from the opening weekend … in the worst way.
Just watch what happens after Wisconsin’s D’Cota Dixon makes a game-clinching interception of LSU QB Brandon Harris. Boutte, a Tigers offensive lineman, appears to be unaware that the play is over when he clocks Dixon. That’s the explanation coach Les Miles got from Boutte after the game.
A bad loss for LSU ended on this violent hit.
LSU's Josh Boutte with the dirtiest of cheap shots, gets ejected in loss to Wisconsin. Not good, young man. https://t.co/mLB6hs9meJ
— Danny Parker (@TheDannyParker) September 3, 2016
Georgia’s Isaiah McKenzie is awarded a touchdown he rightfully earned
McKenzie showed off his speed when outrunning North Carolina’s defense on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Eason.
Initially, McKenzie was ruled down at the 1-yard line when officials thought his hand hit out of bounds before the ball crossed the goal line. After review, the right call was made, and McKenzie was awarded a touchdown to cut the Tar Heels’ lead to 24-21 in the third quarter.
Instances like this are why replay is in place. Officials had the chance to correct their mistake, and justice was done. Who knows what would have happened if the Bulldogs had to take another snap in an attempt to score?
— Jake Reuse (@ReuseRecruiting) September 4, 2016
From the “Just why?” file, here’s USC’s Jabari Ruffin
Ruffin, a Trojans defensive end, capped the ejection party with this strange move. In the video below, Ruffin steps on the groin of Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Ruffin was ejected, and the Crimson Tide went on to score on their next drive. Call it karma.
When stupidity like this happens, it’s best to shake your head and move on.
Not cool brah https://t.co/whbPe4IL6e
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 4, 2016