Normally I prefer to look ahead to the next game rather than dwell on the last one (that’s because, more often than not, the last one hasn’t been worth dwelling on lately), but given the significance of the Ole Miss matchup and the rather unique way in which it ended I think we need to indulge in a little group therapy before we can move on.
We need closure, so please allow us to talk about that interference call for a minute. First, let’s break down the incident, Zapruder film-style:
And next, courtesy of Hog Database, let’s watch the full video (warning: may be painful, so watch with caution):
So, was it pass interference? The NCAA Rule Book notes that:
“Each player has territorial rights, and incidental contact is allowed under ‘attempt to reach…the pass’ in Rule 7-3-8. If opponents who are beyond the line collide while moving toward the pass, a foul by one or both players is indicated only if intent to impede the opponent is obvious.”
Did London Crawford have “intent to impede the opponent”? Or, was he just engaging in the typical jostling for position that happens on nearly every long pass play? Hard to say…it’s a pretty borderline call either way.
The one thing that seems certain to this (admittedly biased) observer, at least, is that it’s not the type of ticky-tack call you want essentially deciding a game. Throw the flag on an obvious penalty, sure, but in this case let ‘em play.
Of course, I have to mention that if the Hogs had executed properly and not shot themselves in the foot on numerous other occasions (such as that missed FG in the first quarter) then none of this hand-wringing over the call would have been necessary. And the way our special teams have performed, even the shortest field goal is far from a guarantee in that situation.
Bottom line is that any old-timers who have a copy of the classic “Pass Interference, My Ass” bumper sticker from 1982 should be dusting that thing off right about now.