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SEC admits to official review gaffe in Vandy-Tennessee game

James Franklin, Zac Stacy AP

Last night’s overtime game between Vanderbilt and Tennessee, which was ultimately won by the Vols 27-21, was not without an officiating controversy.

I mean, Derek Dooley was involved for goodness sake. Could we expect anything less?

But Dooley came out on the right side of an official review last night in overtime. The problem was it was never supposed to have happened. In the first overtime, Vandy quarterback Jordan Rodgers threw an interception to Vols DB Eric Gordon, who ran the ball 90 yards back for a touchdown.

Drowned out in the massive cheers of Neyland Stadium, though, were the whistles from officials ruling that Gordon’s knee was down just after making the interception. An official review showed that Gordon’s knee was never down and the play was reversed. Tennessee wins.

Here’s the issue: it was a dead ball because of the whistle. Those can’t be reviewed and the SEC admitted that after the game. Now, the interception was still good, and Tennessee would have had the ball on the 25-yard line per overtime rules anyway. But, you can’t just assume the Vols would have sealed the win on their first offensive possession.

Anyone watching the game saw how upset Vandy coach James Franklin was. Judging by the look on his face, every puppy within a 10-mile radius was in danger of being punted. Upon shaking hands with Franklin after the game, we can only assume Dooley said “welcome to my hell.”

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23 Responses to “SEC admits to official review gaffe in Vandy-Tennessee game”
  1. jonrambo says: Nov 20, 2011 10:38 AM

    Looks like these two doormat programs played one helluva game. No quiting in those kids.

  2. southernpatriots says: Nov 20, 2011 10:42 AM

    Dooley knows. Now Franklin knows. However, what can the SEC do even if/when they review this gaffe and determine that the play should not have been allowed to continue after the inadvertant whistle? They are not going to replay the game. They are not going to do anything. Its done. Franklin and Vanderbilt now are not bowl eligible. After a real good season for Vanderbilt and Franklin, to have the season and bowl eligiblity end on this note and not the play of his team on the field, is really hard for Franklin. Maybe Dooley can console him?

    Very sorry to see it end this season for Vanderbilt and Franklin this way.

  3. gacanefan says: Nov 20, 2011 10:53 AM

    Derek Dooley’s two years at UT shows why he was not a head coach sooner. UT was desperate for an SEC name they took the son of man with deep SEC roots. If UK beats UT, Dooley will be fired. There are too many good men in the coaching field, that would do a far better job Derek.

  4. southernpatriots says: Nov 20, 2011 10:57 AM

    Just a clarification, the season did not end for Vanderbilt, but the bowl eligibility did.

  5. vols84 says: Nov 20, 2011 11:06 AM

    gacanefan- You obviously haven’t watched the Vols this year and understood the mess that Kiffin and Fulmer left in Knoxville. 19 freshman have seen action due to the lack of depth. Dooley does have head coach experience (La Tech). this team will be back next year with at least 8 wins. They have played the toughest schedule in the NCAA (LSU, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas).

    Vols has been on the bad end of officiating the past two years so don’t feel sorry for Vandy on this call. Besides, it was a change of possession in overtime. Vols likely would have scored to put away the game.

  6. sportsinhd says: Nov 20, 2011 11:31 AM

    “If UK beats UT, Dooley will be fired.”

    No way. Dooley has the full support of his players, the administration, the boosters, and the fans. I don’t know one Volunteer fan calling for the ouster of Dooley. No one had high expectations coming in this year, the Vols are a young team and will only get better. Next year they will win eight or nine games, in 2013 they’ll be back in the SEC Championship game.

  7. frenchy121212 says: Nov 20, 2011 12:01 PM

    Just reading this can someone explain why Vandy coach was mad? Seemed he benefited from the call. Didn’t see game but if his guy threw a pick 6 that got reversed why is he mad?

  8. vols84 says: Nov 20, 2011 1:05 PM

    It didn’t get reversed. The pick six resulted in the Vols win.

  9. abreed08 says: Nov 20, 2011 1:29 PM

    Yeaaaah, Vandy hasn’t lost its chance to become bowl eligible, They still play Wake forest. If they win they are 6-6. So in fact their season isn’t over and the bowl eligibility isn’t over. There is still 1 more game.

  10. frankiec9999 says: Nov 20, 2011 4:50 PM

    You are missing the point. Vanderbilt did not get robbed here. Tennessee intercepted the pass, no knee was down, the player was headed to the end zone and nobody was catching that guy when the whistle was improperly blown.

    Ultimately, the fair call was made. Stop with the “hate to see it end this way” nonsense.

    Tennessee got screwed out of what should have been a non-controversial win.

    And, Franklin didn’t shake Dooley’s hand, so there goes your clever line at the end of the blog.

    Try knowing something about a game before you write about it.

  11. Ben Kercheval says: Nov 20, 2011 5:05 PM

    ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^
    Takes things way to literally and is probably a buzz kill at parties.

  12. lemmam says: Nov 20, 2011 5:06 PM

    @frankie-you’re post is undoubtedly one of the most stupid and asinine in the history of mankind. When “the whistle was improperly blown” means the play is dead. Nothing after the whistle blows should have counted. And I will quote someone who once posted “try to know something about a game before you write about it.”
    You either know nothing about football and the rules or are an idiot. Probably both.

  13. southernpatriots says: Nov 20, 2011 5:23 PM

    Ben: Thank you. You and JT are really busy this time of the year and with all the numerous top 10 teams falling, there is sure a huge amount of material to write about…keep up the good work!

  14. cowhawkfan says: Nov 20, 2011 5:23 PM

    I guess I don’t understand…the referees KNEW they blew the call dead, so why didn’t they speak up? They should never have reviewed the play since they KNEW they blew the their whistles. Thank god this didn’t happen in a game of significance!!

  15. frankiec9999 says: Nov 20, 2011 9:08 PM

    lemmam: If the call goes the other way, then Tennessee would have been royally screwed. It was a fair pick, no knee down, nobody was going to catch that guy. I know that the right call was for the TD to stand, because the whistle should not blow when no knee goes down. THAT is what the rules say. And, Ben, the SEC admitted that much as well…missed that in your column.

  16. jocallo12 says: Nov 20, 2011 9:29 PM

    if anyone watched the game you wouldnt be complaining about this. the Tennessee players knee was not down and they should have won. if they refs had taken it away it would have been a big travesty. it was a clear TD. this was a fair outcome.

  17. tmb333 says: Nov 20, 2011 9:37 PM

    You are assuming that no Vandy player quit playing on the play since the whistle was sounded.

    With all the technology today, perhaps the officials should have a small light on the top of their cap, where the ‘button’ is, that lights up when the official blows his whistle.

    Inadvertent whistles are part of the game. Not manning up to it should cost the official his job.

  18. jocallo12 says: Nov 20, 2011 9:52 PM

    I make that assumption because I watched the game. The Tennessee player was long gone by the time the whistle even blew and had a convoy of blockers. Watch the replay. There is no controversy here except for losers that want to start it for no reason.

  19. vols84 says: Nov 21, 2011 2:25 AM

    Bottom line is even with a hot head coach, Vandy is still Vandy.

  20. gacanefan says: Nov 21, 2011 1:00 PM


    At least you are a smart UT fan that knows the problems started with Fulmer. I have been watching UT football, the talent is there to win more then one conference game. UT football coaching position should not be on the job training. It’s one of the top 20 coaches jobs in the country. UT fans should not settle for this. Dooley was a bad hire.

  21. abreed08 says: Nov 22, 2011 2:56 AM


    You are wrong my good sir. Look at what Franklin inherited. A team who went for a combined record of 4-20 for the past two seasons. He turned that around with a record of 5-6 so far. He has more wins combined than the past two seasons with the players Robbie and Bobby recruited. In my honest opinion, that is a huge turnaround. Vandy is not Vandy, they could have beaten Georgia if that blocked punt had gone for 6; they could have beaten Arkansas if Stacy hadn’t fumbled at their goal line, they could have beaten UT if there wasn’t a rule that said a blocked field goal doesn’t count if the player who didnt block it ran into the kicker; they could have beaten a Florida team that fell asleep in the second half. If that’s a season that represents the Vandy that YOU and I know then I don’t know what universe you live in.

  22. abreed08 says: Nov 22, 2011 3:00 AM

    Let me also throw in the fact that Bray came back, I think UT is a better team than their record shows. Why are they 6 losses this year, because Bray got hurt and their offense took a beating. If Bray hadn’t gotten hurt I would put UT above Florida. The fact that Vandy came into Neyland Stadium and played the way they did, sorry, UT doesn’t get any credit for that win, it was all on Vandy and they made mistakes that kill EVERY team. Vandy is playing above the level they normally play at and this is because Franklin isn’t just a ‘HOT HEAD COACH,’ he’s a risk taker and man who can coach the hell out of a team. Look at the results he had at Maryland. Don’t make assumptions based on the fact that Vandy is Vandy. Once they were the team to beat in the SEC and I think they can become that team again.

  23. 00ringling00 says: Dec 3, 2011 5:57 PM

    Just as a denouement.. Vandy IS Bowl bound… and UT is not

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