Sunday, October 12, 2008

Penn Wagers Remains Inept

Early in the 2nd quarter of yesterday's game with Georgia driving on the Tennessee 6 yard line, Vol cornerback DeAngelo Willingham was called for defensive holding during a pass in the end zone intended for Mohammed Massaquoi. The resulting penalty enforced by head official Penn Wagers, was half the distance to the goal line (the UT 3) and a remaining 3rd down play. 90% of the stadium (not including the UGA coaching staff) commenced to losing their collective minds, thinking that the play should have certainly resulted in a 1st down. (UGA would throw an incompletion on the next play and wound up kicking a field goal to make it a 13-0 game.)

With regard to this scenario, the 2008 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations handbook states the following:
Rule 9.3.4.e: When a legal forward pass crosses the neutral zone during a forward pass play and a contact foul that is not pass interference occurs beyond the neutral zone, the enforcement spot is the previous spot. This includes Rule 9.3.4.c. (note: Rule 9.3.4.c. essentially explains what is holding and what isn't.)
Penalty: 10 or 15 yards from the previous spot, plus first down if the foul occurred against an eligible receiver before the ball was touched.

Further explained in Rule 9 Interpretation, Article 4 (Use of Hands or Arms by Defense):
Approved Ruling 9-3-4
I. During a legal forward pass that crosses the neutral zone, B1 holds eligible A1, who is beyond or behind the neutral zone. The pass is not catchable by A1.
Ruling: Team B foul, holding.
Penalty: 10 yards and first down, basic-spot enforcement.
Note: The above interpretation also applies in the same manner if the holding occurs before the pass is thrown.

I must admit, personally I didn't know at first if the penalty had been enforced correctly or not. But the majority of those in Section 304 (and others that made themselves vocal around the stadium) were convinced that the wrong application of the penalty had been made, by making it 3rd and Goal from the 3 yard line, instead of 1st down. Looking back on it now, I can't believe Mark Richt wasn't 15 yards deep on the field doing jumping jacks to try and get Wagers' attention to get the call corrected. I can only guess that the coaches didn't realize the error before the next play was snapped, or that perhaps they weren't entirely sure of the rule themselves.

The bottom line is this: Penn Wagers and his SEC officiating crew, once again made an error that I wouldn't expect a GHSA Junior Varsity crew to make. Short of awarding points to the wrong team and not correcting the error, I can't imagine a more egregious and elementary error to be made in a football game at this level. This marks at least the 3rd straight UGA game that I can remember Penn Wagers calling where multiple UGA fans have left the game calling for his dismissal (by the way, UGA fans aren't alone in their dislike of Wagers.) I can't wait to hear how the boys in Birmingham are going to spin this one, if they even comment on it at all.


Bear said...

I was very concerned when I saw his mug out there for this game. I even indicated that I thought we needed to play really well to overcome both the officials and UT. Well, other than this obvious blown call, I thought the game was one of his best. Which is saying something because that call was SO BAD that he deserves to be suspended or kept from calling the SEC championship game and bowl game. OTher than that I thought it was a pretty evenly called game and I am probably one of his biggest critics.

Mike said...

It's amazing how well-known this loathing of Penn Wagers is becoming. He sucks so bad that it really is becoming common knowledge that when he is on the field something bad is going to happen. Also the guy still manages to sound like a jerk even though he only occasionally speaks into a microphone. Thats really neither here nor there though. He's terrible at his job. Great post.

Bop said...

I was as mad as I've ever been at a game when this happened. It blew my mind that they could screw that up like they did. Imagine if Georgia would have lost by 3 points. Seriously think about that.

I know that the NCAA is cracking down on helmet to helmet hits this season, but the flag on that hit on MoMass was BS too. No way that should have been called a personal foul on Tennessee. IT'S FOOTBALL. That was a clean hit.

Anonymous said...

I guess it evens out since they didn't call the helmet to helmet by Berry on Knowshon.

JJ said...

Per Chip Towers at the AJC today:
".....The Bulldogs settled for the first field goal one play after a wide-open and normally sure-handed A.J. Green dropped a third-down pass in the end zone. They settled for the second two plays after not being awarded what should have been an automatic first down at the Tennessee 3 following a defensive holding call against the Vols on an eligible receiver. Richt said he should have run onto the field and vigorously raised the issue of the first down at the time. This week, he said, “I’ll read my [rule]book a little bit better.”