Leading 14-10 today at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Tennessee stopped LSU on the apparent final play of the game at its own goal line. But the Vol defense was flagged for 13 players on the field in that final goal line stand, giving the Tigers another play with no time remaining. Thanks to the penalty-provided extra play, LSU next punched in the game-winning score in claiming a 16-14 victory.
(Game had one more play, so why no flag?)
But in the chaos of the play which led to the illegal participation penalty against the Vols, video replay clearly indicates that at least one LSU player threw his helmet on the ground during the end of the play in question.
The faux final play in question involved a botched snap which LSU QB Jordan Jefferson was unable to handle. During the ensuing, futile scramble for the ball after it had sailed past Jefferson, LSU center T-Bob Hebert removed his helmet and slammed it to the ground.
The game clock had expired when Hebert removed his helmet but the play appeared to be ongoing when the LSU player committed what is indisputably classified as an unsportsmanlike penalty.
Following LSU’s snap gaffe, game officials subsequently used video replay to review the play, ruling that LSU was to be granted another play because Tennessee had 13 men on the field. So as the game was offically ruled not to be over, it’s curious as to why Hebert’s penalty wasn’t called.
The officials did not provide an explanation as to when the previous play had ended - and if Hebert’s foul came before or after that. The apparent penalty instead went unaddressed.
To be fair, everyone in the stadium thought the game was over after the botched snap, which also caused Tennessee and LSU players to walk onto the field after time expired - only to be called back when UT’s illegal participation penalty was called.
But there’s a significant difference between players from both teams coming onto the field after the play concluded and what Hebert did as an active participant while it was ongoing.