If you visit this space regularly, you’ve seen a lot of cheap shots in college and pro football this season. But Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley’s spear of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is clearly the worst caught on video in a high profile game this year - if not in recent memory.
(Ignoring this play may come at a price for Auburn, SEC)
After the Bulldogs QB released a pass during the Auburn-Georgia game Saturday the Tigers defensive lineman lowered his helmet into the back of the unsuspecting Murray - after a five yard, unimpeded run-up.
Fairly was called for a personal foul on the play but remained in the game and later delivered another hit on Murray that knocked the quarterback out of the game.
On that play, after eluding a Georgia offensive lineman, Fairley lead with his helmet as he lunged into Murray’s knees. The resulting blow knocked Murray out of the game with a knee injury.
It did not appear on the play that Fairley was pushed into Murray but his shot on the Georgia quarterback wasn’t as egregious as his earlier, appalling personal foul. (But what possibly could be?)
In addition to his personal fouls, Fairley was at the center of an ugly scuffle between the teams as Georgia tried to run out the clock during Auburn’s 49-31 victory. Eventually, in a bizarre scene, Auburn assistant coach Trooper Taylor was summoned onto the field to assist in the removal of Fairley from the game.
Fairley is extremely lucky he didn’t seriously injure Murray with his spear from behind on the QB. If Auburn and the SEC does not respond with some manner of punishment to the Auburn defensive lineman, I wouldn’t want to be working in the conference office if a player’s career is ended by a similar, egregious cheap shot in the future.
With the renewed focus on players using their helmets as weapons, Auburn and the SEC will be setting a very, very dangerous precedent if it does not swiftly and legitimately punish Fairley’s despicable act.
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