Controversial call lifts No. 13 Auburn to 30-28 win over Arkansas

Nick Bromberg
·3-min read

Did Bo Nix actually fumble when he spiked the football?

Arkansas fans undoubtedly believe he did. But the officiating crew didn’t and Anders Carlson kicked a game-winning field goal with seven seconds left to give Auburn a 30-28 win over the Razorbacks.

Nix was trying to spike the ball on third down with 28 seconds left and Auburn trailing by one. But he fumbled the snap before he spiked the ball. And when he did, he appeared to spike the ball backwards. Or, at the very least, not forward. Arkansas recovered the ball.

The play was initially called intentional grounding because Nix fumbled the snap. It was reviewed because it was apparent that Nix didn’t throw the ball forward. But, somehow, officials decided that the call of intentional grounding — and a forward pass — should stand and Carlson then came on to kick a 39-yard field goal for the win.

The SEC defended the call Saturday night and said that Arkansas didn’t recover the ball soon enough after the spike.

Arkansas plays well again

Arkansas is not the pushover that a lot of us thought they’d be in the SEC. The Razorbacks played Georgia tough for a half to open the season and beat Mississippi State in Week 2. Their performance against Auburn showed that the Hogs are not way behind their competitors in the SEC West.

The team’s performances over the first three weeks of the season are big endorsements of coach Sam Pittman and grad transfer QB Feleipe Franks. Franks was 21-of-29 passing for 302 yards and four touchdowns against the Tigers.

Saturday’s game was the first for former Arkansas coach Chad Morris against his old team. Morris was fired during the 2019 season and is now Auburn’s offensive coordinator.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix (10) warms up in before an NCAA college football game against Arkansas as the remnants of Hurricane Delta pass through on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Auburn, Ala.. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix might have spiked the ball backwards against Arkansas. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

How confident can Auburn be?

Yeah, Auburn is now 2-1, but the Tigers aren’t exactly looking great so far. Auburn didn’t coast to a win over Kentucky in Week 1 and was easily beaten by Georgia in Week 2.

The offensive line has been an issue for the Tigers. While Auburn rushed for nearly 260 yards against the Razorbacks, Nix hasn’t had much time to throw this season. Better pass protection is key for Auburn going forward.

The Tigers have three seemingly winnable games coming up on the schedule, however. Auburn plays South Carolina, Ole Miss and LSU over the next three weeks. LSU lost on Saturday to Missouri in a game that was moved to Columbia because of Hurricane Delta.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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