Officials have thankless jobs.
They rank somewhere between tax collectors and parking attendants among professions that best exist in the background. When we shine light on officials, it usually means something is wrong. We like them to be invisible on the field, affecting the result as much as Joe Fan in Section ZZZ who’s chowing down on his third chili dog.
The Alabama-Texas A&M game featured officials too much on Saturday. Of course, the Aggies didn’t play well enough to hang with the Crimson Tide near the end. Texas A&M can’t blame the officiating for its first loss this season. But a few calls were questionable at best during another memorable game day in the SEC.
Here are a few situations worth revisiting:
Mack Wilson’s wicked hit
Perhaps Alabama’s greatness blinded officials in this moment. Perhaps officials were daydreaming about their postgame meal or beverage of choice. Perhaps someone slipped an invisibility cloak over Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson that made him look no different than air to anyone in stripes.
A higher power must have been at work, because that’s the only logical explanation. Officials missed an obvious targeting penalty.
Watch Wilson’s brutal hit on Texas A&M wide receiver Speedy Noil during a first-quarter kickoff return as part of the Crimson Tide’s 33-14 rout of the Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Wilson should have been sent out of the game faster than Alabama linebacker Tim Williams can say, “Fifteen who?”
But amazingly, that wasn’t the case.
There’s no defense for this terrible mistake by officials. The targeting rule exists to protect players from nonsense like this. So bad.
This is why Speedy Noil is no longer in the game. Geez. pic.twitter.com/JYSTyxen7e
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 22, 2016
Donovan Wilson’s non-winning move
This is how the targeting rule is supposed to work.
Texas A&M safety Donovan Wilson was ejected for acting as a two-by-four to Alabama running back Damien Harris’ head on an interception return during the second quarter of the Crimson Tide’s victory. You can feel Harris’ hurt as he tumbles to the turf.
It’s a shame officials blew the obvious targeting call in the first quarter. And it’s rough that Texas A&M found itself on the bad end of both situations.
But at least common sense won out in this scenario. There’s no reason to lose complete faith in Zebra Nation.
Texas A&M's Donovan Wilson has been ejected for targeting on Alabama's Damien Harris. https://t.co/dEKgJo8SaC
— Campus Sports (@CampusSportsNet) October 22, 2016
Foot fun for Ricky Seals-Jones
It must be cool these days to step out of bounds when making a catch.
Here’s Exhibit B of why it was a rough afternoon for refs in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Texas A&M wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones was ruled to make a 25-yard catch at Alabama’s 44-yard line late in the second quarter, even though it looked like his right foot stepped on a heavy sliver of white on the sideline.
After review, the call stood, which was wrong. Unfortunately for Alabama, the Aggies drive ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Knight to wide receiver Josh Reynolds five plays later, cutting the Crimson Tide’s lead to 13-7.
Fortunately for Alabama, this gaffe didn’t matter one bit by the end.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 22, 2016
Kamryn Pettway saved by his backside
Take a seat, Kamryn Pettway!
The Auburn running back was glad he did so before fumbling early in the second quarter during the Tigers’ 56-3 annihilation of Arkansas at Jordan-Hare Stadium. At first, officials ruled Pettway had fumbled before crashing onto the turf at Auburn’s 42-yard line. But after review, the right call was made, and he was awarded an 11-yard run.
Timing is everything, all right.
— Danielle (@MorbySa) October 22, 2016
Marcell Frazier’s massive miscue
More targeting trouble!
Missouri defensive end Marcell Frazier was ejected for targeting after a hit on Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill early in the fourth quarter of the Blue Raiders’ 51-45 victory at Faurot Field. The call was iffy, and it could have been judged differently.
But the Tigers didn’t earn a bunch of good karma with their garbage defensive effort in what was supposed to be a happy homecoming affair.
I’m pretty sure this was the play Marcell Frazier was called for targeting. Still not sure about that. pic.twitter.com/aVv3l5ZeBS
— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) October 23, 2016