Well, Tennessee-Ole Miss lived up to the hype, but in a different way than we all intended for it to. The Volunteers came up short against Lane Kiffin’s Rebels, and a couple of questionable calls by the officiating crew caused fans in the stands to boil over.
Though Tennessee fans certainly didn’t handle it in the best way, they had plenty of reason to gripe. Emotions spilled over after officials ruled Jacob Warren short on a 4th and 24 pass with everything on the line. Warren fell directly on the yellow line, which as we all know is very unofficial. It seemed like the referees were lacking the correct angle to overturn the call, and they ended up sticking with the ruling on the field.
Sidenote — how did the cameras at Neyland not have that angle for a replay?
That was the last of a few frustrating moments from Tennessee fans on Saturday night. It all started in the first quarter, when a Tyler Baron scoop and score was wiped off the board.
oh my god tyler baron scoop and score pic.twitter.com/3MQaCYHgJc— RockyTopTalk (@RockyTopTalk) October 17, 2021
Heupel talked about that specific play after the game.
“Tyler (Baron’s) play, talked to them, said forward progress had been stopped, not a reviewable play,” Heupel said. “The spot was looked at, I guess, and that was the decision they came to. Some of the chains just being moved, talked to them, didn’t really get an explanation on it.”
Tennessee went on to get the ball, but failed to score on that possession, taking seven points off of the board early on.
Heupel’s offense was also dealing with a rash of Ole Miss “injuries.” Every time Tennessee got it in gear and kicked into full song, like clockwork, a Rebel fell to the ground and killed any tempo they had. It’s something that has become a part of college football these days, and it only fueled the hostility inside of Neyland on Saturday night.
With it being so obvious, Heupel was asked about that issue after the game.
“The rules committee looks at that during every offseason,” Heupel said. “So, I don’t know. I’m the wrong guy to ask about how we change that.”
It’s a shame that such a great environment and a really fun night had to end how it did. However, big picture, this team fought hard and played through a ton of adversity to have a shot to win. Josh Heupel and his staff certainly didn’t hurt themselves on Saturday night, but this loss will sting for a while.