Skip to main content

Auburn Escapes Upset-Minded Arkansas After Controversial Late Call

Bo Nix has never been happier to throw an incomplete pass.

No. 13 Auburn eked out a 30-28 win over Arkansas on a go-ahed, 39-yard field goal by Anders Carlson with 0:07 remaining. The kick followed a controversial call during the game's final drive when Nix attempted to spike the ball with under 30 seconds and no timeouts remaining.

bo nix

On the play, Nix fumbled the snap, but turned backwards to recover it. He then spiked the ball, but did so with his back to the line of scrimmage, making it appear to be a backward pass. Officials ruled the play intentional grounding, and after a review upheld the call.

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Auburn led, 17-0, early in the second quarter before Arkansas mounted a strong comeback. The Razorbacks cut the lead to 20-12 at halftime and 20-18 at the end of the third quarter. After an Auburn touchdown put the Tigers up, 27-18, early in the fourth, Arkansas scored 10 unanswered points to take the lead with 5:29 to go.

On the ensuing Auburn possession, Carlson missed a 34-yard field goal that would have given the Tigers the lead with 2:38 left. The Auburn defense forced a three-and-out, giving Carlson the chance at redemption that he took advantage of to win the game.

After the game, the SEC officiating crew released a statement saying that the video review showed conclusive evidence that Nix's pass was indeed backwards—and therefore a fumble—but the ball could not be awarded to Arkansas because there was no immediate recovery, and the play was blown dead by the officials.

“During the subsequent replay review, there is conclusive video evidence that the pass was backwards. However, because the recovery of the football was not clearly made in the immediate continuing football action, the ruling on the field was determined to stand under Rule 12-3-2-e-1. Both the determination of a backward pass and the immediate clear recovery are required to reverse the ruling on the field under Rule 12-3-2-e-1.”